The Commodores are 35-23-1 overall this year and were the #2 seed at the Clemson regional where they beat Clemson in the tie breaker game on Monday. They are led by their dominant right handed pitcher Kyle Wright, a potential number one overall pick in this year’s draft.
The righty’s main weapon is his size. At 6’4 240 pounds, he has the body makeup of big arm kind of guy, which is exactly what he is. His fastball sits in the upper 90’s but he doesn’t have very flashy numbers when you really look at it. He is 5-5 on the season with a 2.98 ERA in 96.2 IP. In comparison his likely matchup, Luke Heimlich, has a 11-1 record and a .76 ERA in 118.1 IP this season.
The pitching duel on paper looks like it will go Oregon State’s way, especially when you consider Vanderbilt’s streaky offense. Their greatest offensive weapons are Will Toffey, a junior infielder hitting .349 in 192 at bats with 57 RBIs, and Julian Infante a sophomore infielder hitting .328 in 248 abs with 65 RBIs. Outside of those two there is only one player with a large enough sample size of at bats hitting over .300 on the year, with most falling closer .250.
The main question mark for the Beavers before this matchup is Nick Madrigal. He couldn’t swing very effectively and was very sparingly playing catch before Sunday’s game against Yale and he will need to be healthy to jump start this Beaver offense. He managed to lay down 4 bunt singles making the most out of his injured at bats, but it is obvious that his hand was still hampering his play. If Nick can get back to a spot he feels good enough to play effectively it will be a major boost for the Beavers as they are a different team without him in the lineup.
The other question is Drew Rasmussen. After Sunday’s game head coach Pat Casey said he thought Drew was trying to overthrow his fastball against Yale, and that is why he didn’t have very good command and had to leave after the 4th inning. It was Rasmussen’s first post-season start of his career and he will need to get over the jitters if the Beavers need him in a potential series clinching rubber match on Sunday.
I think the Beavers will sweep this series winning on Friday and Saturday, especially if Madrigal is healthy enough to play. Vanderbilt is not the powerhouse they normally are this season, and I think Oregon State got one of the easier super-regional matchups in the field. Not to say that Vanderbilt is a bad team by any stretch, they are one of 16 teams left playing baseball right now. But if the Beavers can get a few runs off of Wright, I think the Beavers have a pretty good shot at punching their ticket to Omaha for the first time since 2013.