Oregon State and UNLV Face Elimination

Kenny Oakley may start elimination game - Eric Toliver

At this time of the year a team loses two games then goes home. Both the Beavers and the Rebels are in that perilous position. They play today at 2:00 (PST) to see who gets to play another day. Both teams are built around their starting pitching and the Beavers staff is just about the best in the land. Should be a close one.

Oregon State and UNLV in Elimination Match at 2:00 PM Sunday

Oregon State is still the favorite to win the Corvallis Regional. That's even after being mauled by UC Irvine 14-2. In that win the ‘Eaters showed little respect for All-American lefty Jace Fry as they bumped him around pretty good and the rest of that staff also. Fry absorbed only the second loss of the year (11-2) as he just didn't have it. The depth of the Beavers' pitching is impressive. They beat North Dakota State behind Andrew Moore and his 14 strikeouts. Then they play UCI with an AA going. So, guess what. The third pitcher they drag out there is also an AA in Ben Wetzler, another lefty. Wetzler is 11-1 and 0.76 and has 73 strikeouts in 95 innings. That's a hell of a trio and that is where the big boys differ from the mid major; depth.

The Beavers' hitting has not been overpowering at all as they hit a respectable .274 this year. We all know they based their success on that pitching. With that being said, they do have an AA in the outfield in Michael Conforto who hit .351 with 7 home runs. They have two other .300 hitters with playing time. Leadoff hitter and center fielder Jeff Hendrix hit .348 with 2 home runs and first baseman Kavin Keyes hit .310 with a home run. Pretty fair threesome. Conforto is obviously the one to respect as he has significant pop in his bat.

The Rebels sorely miss Erick Fedde as he was their best starter. John Richy and Bryan Bonnell have already seen time in this regional and that leaves Kenny Oakley (4-7 and 3.25) who has 13 starts this year. This will certainly be the biggest game he's ever thrown. By the way, I was surprised recently when Joey Lauria got his first start of the year in the championship game of the MWC Tournament. I was expecting Oakley then also so I'm wondering if that will happen again. If it does, I'm guessing Oakley's arm may be tired after 91 innings. We'll see.

The Rebels hitters have been pretty much shackled in the regional but teams are running into some pretty good pitching. I was stunned how Irvine clobbered the Beavers' pitching in last night's game but the others have been pretty close and low-scoring affairs. The Rebels have five .300 hitter led by Morgan Stotts at .344 and 3. Next best is T.J. White at .322 and 2. Throw all this offense out the door, it's about the pitching. Play ball!

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