Do Beavs need sweep to make postseason?

FOR TWO-TIME DEFENDING NCAA CHAMPION Oregon State, their baseball fate lies with the selection committee. And for a team standing at 25-20, with a league mark of 11-10, a weekend sweep of the Trojans might just be required if the Beavers are to defend their title and set their sights on the College World Series in Omaha.

True, the Beavs could still make it without sweeping USC.

Or they could win out and not be selected at all -- only the committee knows if Oregon State will receive one of 34 at-large bids.

But Oregon State's chances would certainly be bolstered by a dominant performance in Los Angeles this weekend and a sweep would seemingly supercharge those plans.

And a key one-game series on Monday could also be big.

Friday's game is an evening affair, with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday's game time is 1:30 p.m. while Sunday's finale against 'SC gets underway at 1 p.m. The Beavs then play Monday at well regarded Long Beach State. They finish the regular season at home with three non-conference games against Pacific.

Said to be a key factor in the committee's selection process is the RPI. Oregon State's estimated RPI is somewhere in the mid-30s, which some believe would push them over the hump.

Despite playing above .500 ball the last week or so, Oregon State slid in the ESPN/USA Today poll, to No. 44 from No. 40, in the "others receiving votes" section. As recently as April 23, Oregon State was ranked No. 23.

Friday's matchup on the mound features RHP Mike Stutes (3-6, 5.47) from Oregon State going up against Trojan LHP Tommy Milone (5-5, 3.01).

Stutes is second in school history with 275 strikeouts. The all-time leader at OSU is Jonah Nickerson, with 299 punchouts from 2004-06.

Ryan Ortiz enters with a five game hitting streak. He has 10 RBIs during the streak, highlighted by the two-out, eight inning grand slam in the 8-7 win over UCLA this past Sunday.

NOTABLE NOTES:
• Oregon State has either won or split its last three Pac-10 season-ending series. OSU took 2-of-3 at UCLA to close out last season.

• The Beavers are 17-38 all-time against USC, but have won seven of their last 12 against the Trojans and went 4-2 against the club in 2005 en route to a College World Series appearance.

• Two wins this weekend will ensure OSU ends Pac-10 play with its third winning conference season in four years.

• OSU is 17-7 when scoring first but 8-12 when its opponent scores first this season.


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