After Oregon State Baseball finished their 2018 campaign with a third national championship in 15 years, their 2019 season got off to a positive note with an 18-inning 12-2 exhibition win against University of British Columbia.
With former Head Coach Pat Casey retired, Interim Head Coach Pat Bailey will be stepping in to fill the roll and determine the final roster. Bailey has been at OSU for 11 years working with Casey.
Junior catcher Adley Rutschman, reigning College World Series Most Outstanding Player, performed well behind the plate including two throw outs to first base. Junior outfielder Tyler Malone had a two-run home in the fifth inning of the first game.
“Losing one of the best coaches in college history was a shock but I’ve felt like we really came together,” Malone said. “The camaraderie and the morale is awesome, the freshman have definitely made an easy transition and everything is going well.”
With both starting middle infielders Cadyn Grenier and Nick Madrigal moving on to the MLB, players such as junior Beau Philip and freshman Jake Harvey get a chance to gain in-game experience.
“You know those two guys were insane up the middle, but we have guys who can definitely fill the spots,” Malone said. “It’ll be good, we have that depth and those guys who haven’t really been seen will have a breakout year.”
According to Bailey, the team chemistry is building with the help of Rutschman and senior infielder Zak Taylor, who he appointed as team captains along with senior pitcher Bryce Fehmel.
“I think the key to our team chemistry is the guys really care about each other and as they continue to do stuff off the field, that will grow,” Bailey said. “It’s about Beaver Baseball and it matters in the long run how you treat your teammates.”
Freshman outfielder Greg Fuchs is also confident in how the team is progressing.
“Coach Bailey has done a great job running the program, Adley and Zak are doing a great job, our middle infield is doing great with big shoes to fill and there is a lot of returners in the pitching staff which is awesome.”
After their game against UBC, Bailey added that it’s a brand new team every season and the key of the game is pitching and defense.
“Most of our pitching staff is back, we have enough returners and our defense is a real strength,” Bailey said. “We went 18 innings today without an error. I wasn’t happy with our offense approach wise, but when you have no walks and solid defense that determines the game.”