Rathbone: For Beaver Baseball the time is now

Brian Rathbone Sports Contributor

What do you know? Another weekend of baseball, and still little movement in the Pac-12 standings. At a point where the contenders are suppose to be separating themselves from the pretenders. That’s not happening.

Oregon State beat Washington, Washington beat Cal, Cal swepped Oregon State, Washington State won two of three against Oregon State, Oregon State beat first-place Utah on the road. The list continues, but the point has been made.

Four weeks are left in the College Baseball regular season and the Conference of Champions is in utter chaos. It’s chock full of pretenders. Or is it full of contenders? It’s anyone’s guess.

OSU players are aware of parity that’s currently taken over the conference. One slip up in a series, could see a team plummet in the standings, or a series win could catapult a team to the top.

“It’s a tight Pac this year,” said freshman pitcher Bryce Fehmel after earning his team-high eighth win of the season in the Beavers 11-4 win over Stanford on Sunday. “We just gotta keep winning series and sweep some series.”

No surprise, the 11th-ranked Beavers are right in the thick of the postseason discussion. Just not the way one would expect from a team as high ranked as OSU.

D1baseball.com currently has OSU ranked just outside the top-10, their staff currently has the Beavers sitting at No.11 nationally.

Based on their rank and record, the Beavers should be in the discussions to be one of the eight national seeds to host a regional and super regional on their home diamond in hopes of reaching the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

That is not the case in 2016. While OSU’s rank and record may stack up favorably across the nation, it’s their RPI score (Rating Percentage Index) that currently has OSU on the outside looking in for hosting a regional according to projections from several online publication.

The RPI is a common formula used in college sports; football and basketball implement it as well. What it calculates is a team’s strength of schedule and how a team performs in that schedule. All wins are not treated the same in the RPI, wins on the road are valued more home wins and home losses hurt your RPI score more than road losses.

The ten teams ranked ahead of Oregon State in the polls all have RPI’s ranked in the top-13. As of today, eight of those teams are virtual locks hear their names called on Memorial Day as the national seeds. OSU doesn’t even crack the top-40, coming in at No. 41. Barring something crazy chain of events, earning a national seed in not in the stars.

But being selected as a host in a regional round, is very much a possibility. If there is ever a series that the Beavers’ need to win or sweep, as Fehmel suggests — this series in the desert against Arizona is the one to do it.

Not only is it a crucial series in the Pac-12 title race, but the series also serves as the final chance OSU has to improve their postseason resume. OSU’s RPI would take a “big boost” according to D1Baseball staff writer Kendall Rogers should the clinch a series in Tucson.

Arizona has an RPI of 33, eight clicks higher than Oregon State. The remaining three Pac-12 team’s on OSU’s schedule — Oregon, at USC, and UCLA — have an average RPI of 97. Those won’t provide much help in the Beaver’s RPI. the only thing those final three teams can do to OSU’s resume, is hurt it.

Win that series, the Beavers could be in the driver’s seat for being the Pac-12 school to host during the postseason, even if the they aren’t thinking that far ahead.

“I don’t think we are paying much attention,” said Fehmel “We are just trying to do what we can do as a team and control what we can control.”

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