PREVIEW: No. 3 OSU baseball faces No. 2 Stanford

The OSU baseball team cheers from outside the dugout in a game against Arizona State University on April 29. The Beavers are currently 36-7-1 and 14-6-1 in conference play.

Anna Weeks, Sports Chief

First top-five matchup in Goss Stadium since 2014, games sold out.

Coming off a Civil War sweep, No. 3 Oregon State University baseball (36-7-1) is heading into an at-home three-game series against No. 2 Stanford University (38-6).

The series kicks off Friday at 7:05 p.m. in Goss Stadium at Coleman Field against Stanford, who is 17-4 in conference play. 

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With 39 straight home games of more than 3,000 in attendance at Goss Stadium and all three games being sold out, the Cardinal will be forced to perform for a much larger audience than they are used to, with their last game totaling only 1,188 spectators and one confused rabbit. With a 4.29 percent acceptance rate for fall 2018, most would assume even the rabbits were supposed to be smarter at Stanford.

With momentum from the series win against the University of Oregon, the Beavers will have to contain Oregon-native sophomore pitcher Will Matthiessen, who was recently named the Pac-12 Player of the Week and Perfect Game National Player of the Week. 

Matthiessen has received national attention since being named to the starting lineup on May 1. Since then, he has hit five home runs with 12 runs batted in, 10 hits and 10 runs, maintaining a .474 batting average.

Stanford’s 25 total home runs this season, putting them at the front lines of the Pac-12; however, their main strong point is their pitching staff, ranking first in the country in ERA with a 2.54.

Freshman pitcher Brendan Beck and junior pitcher Kris Bubic are among Stanford’s starters. Beck leads the Pac-12 in ERA with 1.42, followed by teammate Bubic with a 2.25 ERA ranking in third. Bubic has totaled 64 innings pitched and 72 strikeouts, which ties for third in the Pac-12.

OSU senior pitcher Luke Heimlich currently leads the Pac-12 in strikeouts with 101 and remains one of the Beavers’ star pitchers. He currently holds a .301 batting average.

The Beavers currently lead the Pac-12 in runs with 327 and total bases with 746. 

Sophomore first baseman Andrew Daschbach is one of Stanford’s top batters. With a .304 batting average and leading the Pac-12 with 54 RBI, Daschbach and OSU’s junior outfielder Trevor Larnach are both crucial elements to their respective team.

Larnach currently holds a .339 batting average and trails Daschbach by two with a 52 RBI. The two are tied with 14 home runs battling it out with who will top the other. 

In order to extend the Beavers’ four-game win streak against Stanford, players will have to make it a point to get on base. The Cardinal has only allowed 77 runs in league play, the fewest in the Pac-12.

On the other hand, OSU’s batting average is fourth in the nation and first in the Pac-12 with .321 with sophomore catcher Adley Rutschman with a .395 batting average. He ranks second in the Pac-12, behind University of California, Berkeley’s freshman pitcher Andrew Vaughn.

Rutschman has recently accepted an invitation to compete for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, following junior infielder Nick Madrigal and freshman infielder Cadyn Grenier from last year’s Team USA roster. This will be OSU’s 14th player to play for Team USA since 2005. Since 2010, at least one OSU player has been on the team each year.

Madrigal is also back in play after suffering a broken wrist just six games into the season. Last year, he averaged a .380 batting average and had three hits in the last game against Oregon.

This is the first top-five matchup since late in the 2014 season when the No. 2 Beavers won a three-game series against No. 4 University of Washington Huskies. 

Tickets can be purchased online at Beaver Ticket Central, however, it is important to keep in mind, the only animal allowed on the field is our very own Benny the Beaver—no rabbits allowed. 

The first game will take place in Goss Stadium at Coleman Field Friday, May 11, at 7:05 p.m. It will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Network and aired on the radio on the Beaver Sports Network.

Follow @OMNSports on Twitter for live coverage of the game.