Beavers ready for Civil War showdown

Brian Rathbone Senior Beat Reporter

The Oregon State baseball team is in a bit of a funk. Batters aren’t coming through with runners on base and walks are being issued at a high rate. The Beavers also find themselves on the wrong side of a four-game losing streak, with their rival the Oregon Ducks coming into town for a three-game series.

Over the last week the Beavers (29-16, 10-11 Pac-12) saw their chances of hosting a regional round fiizzell up against the Arizona Wildcats where they swept OSU in three games. They then saw their 25-game win streak end against the University of Portland on Tuesday after a 7-4 loss where the Beavers left 11 runners on base.

“It’s kinda been the story of our season, not being able to execute when we need to execute,” said sophomore left fielder Christian Donahue. “Things aren’t really going our way recently, it’s baseball, there isn’t much we can do about it, we just have to learn from it.”

While getting a series win against the Ducks (22-21, 10-11) is the goal, forming the right mindset that can carry them through the remainder of the season and focusing on the task at hand has become a top priority.

“The biggest thing for us is to bring a different presence to the yard and bring an energy level and play for each other,” said junior center fielder Kyle Nobach. “We have nine games left and the biggest thing is focusing on friday night and taking it step by step. Instead of looking at the big picture we just have to focus on what’s in front of us.”

After Tuesday’s loss to Portland, team captain Logan Ice was not pleased with the team’s recent mindset. The junior catcher questioned the team’s motivation to reach their ultimate goal of playing in the College World Series.

As soon as the team got off the bus, they gathered in the locker room to refocus and get everyone on the same page. Former pitcher Andrew Moore was brought up during the meeting on how to approach the game.

Being a starting pitcher, like Moore was, you only play in one game per week. But what the former All-American and second round pick of the Seattle Mariners was able to do, was bring a joy to the game that was contagious to the rest of the team.

“On a Friday night he would go out and start and be serious and give everything he had,” said Nobach. “Then on Saturday he would come out and be a goofball running around, just bringing that kind of energy. He wasn’t out slouching around, he was sprinting around and I think that made an impact on people.”

To remedy the lack of production on offense that has left an average of 8.75 runners on base per game over the last month, head coach Pat Casey compared being in the batter’s box to how a surgeon acts prior to surgery. The confidence that he exudes prior to the procedure.

“When the surgeon walks down the hall they are big, there is a presence about them, you can see it, you can feel it,” said Nobach. “That’s kinda the mindset that we need, going up to the plate believing in it. If there’s guys on base (our mindsets need to be) ‘I’m going to drive them in no matter what, not giving an inch, I’m not striking out, the only thing I’m worried about is driving in these runs for my team.”

The Ducks are one of five teams in the Pac-12 with 10 conference victories. With postseason berths on the line. The belief of the team is, if they can refocus then they can get back to their winning ways.

“It’s attitude, it’s confidence, it’s picking each other up collectively as a whole,” said Donahue. “Our attitude going into this weekend is that we just need to bring that fire and energy and not back down from anyone or any challenge. We just got to keep fighting.”