Cadyn Grenier

IN OMAHA: Who will pitch for Beavers tonight? Maybe everybody

IN OMAHA: Who will pitch for Beavers tonight? Maybe everybody

OMAHA -- Oregon State needed to just about empty the bullpen to get all the way to tonight's winner-take-all College World Series game against Arkansas and the obvious question is, "Who will pitch tonight?"

OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie was asked that question amid the din of the Beaver locker room after Wednesday night's miraculous 5-3 comeback win over the Razorbacks. And while the starting pitcher is important, it hasn't been about the OSU starting pitching here. It's been about the relief corps.

"We're going to let this one sink in a little bit and then we will look at our options before we make a decision," Yeskie said. "Try to look at things objectively. I don't think any one person is going to do it by himself. We haven't been particularly good on the front end but the guys on the back end have picked us up. Particularly the 'gap' guys. We have confidence in all of our guys. They are all capable of getting outs. They can all make pitches."

The Beavers are probably going to have to use a lot of arms to get through the deep Arkansas lineup in the title game. Only the two pitchers -- Brandon Eisert and Bryce Fehmel -- who were used extensively in Game 2 will be spared from bullpen duty, most likely. Head coach Pat Casey was asked which of his pitchers would NOT be available.

"Probably Eisert and probably Fehmel," Casey said. "Fehmel threw 50 pitches, I guess. I don't know. Eisert threw more than that. And if you threw a guy out there that had thrown -- depends on the kid, too. If a kid says, 'Hey, I'm sore, I'm whatever...' I think it's all hands on deck right now for anybody that... I watched the World Series and I see Randy Johnson going down (to the bullpen) after two-day start to close, to win a championship. People do things. Now, we're never going to put someone in a position that is detrimental to them, that's for sure."

There has been some chatter about trying to get a few more innings out of Kevin Abel, the OSU freshman who has already tied a CWS record with three wins. He has been the most effective OSU starter by far. Christian Chamberlain provided terrific pitching in relief during Game 1 and Yeskie said he added more than just what the box score showed.

"He walked some guys and punched out some guys," Yeskie said. "But he also gave us some insight on how we'd like to attack certain hitters. But at the end of the day, you've got to make pitches."

The Beavers got to the championship game in one of the most dramatic finishes I've seen in many decades of watching and covering baseball -- and just about every other sport.

Down to the last out and to the last strike --- and to gain new life from a pop fly that dropped untouched but should have been caught to end the game and the season -- and come back to win? Well, when it happened, Jack Buck's excited voice rattled around in my head so forcefully that I spoke it out loud in the same stunned manner the legendary sportscaster used when describing Kirk Gibson's game-winning homer in the World Series off Dennis Eckersley in 1988:

"...And I don't believe... what I just saw!" ... And the man sitting beside me quickly added another famous Buck line, "... And we'll see you tomorrow!"

Yes, the Beavers got a huge break when that popup fell harmlessly to the ground. But the point is, they took advantage of it. They got that two-out, two-strike single from Cadyn Grenier. They got that laser-beam home run from Trevor Larnach. They got that save from Jake Mulholland.

And they lived to play another day.

I can't wait.



Pac-12 honors: Beavers, Beavers everywhere

Pac-12 honors: Beavers, Beavers everywhere

It has been a busy day in Beaver Nation, as a record-setting season was rewarded with numerous individual accolades.

The Pac-12 conference announced its season awards today, and it was littered with Beavers.

Oregon led the conference with six players named to the All-Pac-12 Team: RJr. OF Jack Anderson, So. SS Cadyn Grenier, Jr. 1B KJ Harrison, Jr. LHP Luke Heimlich, So. 2B Nick Madrigal, and RJr. RHP Jake Thompson. Arizona had the second most selections, with five players making the team.

Oregon State also was one of only two schools, Utah being the other, to have multiple players named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team: So. 2B Nick Madrigal and So. OF Steven Kwan.

Oh, but the Beavers weren’t done. Oregon State also won four of the six individual awards.

Madrigal added to his accomplishments this season by being named both the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Madrigal batted .377, with 77 hits, four home runs, and 31 RBIs this season.

Madrigal was among the top five in the conference in multiple offensive statistics including batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, doubles, and stolen bases.

Defensively Madrigal committed just four errors on the season, good for a .981 fielding percentage, and was named to the All-Defensive team for the second year in a row.

Moving to the mound, star Pitcher Luke Heimlich was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. Not only is Heimlich the best pitcher in the conference, he is one of the best in the entire nation. His .81 earned run average is the best in the country, he boasts the fourth best WHIP (.80), and his 10 victories tie him for third most on the season. He is also one of five finalists for the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s National Pitcher of the Year award.

The final individual award the program took home went to a very deserving Pat Casey, who was named Pac-12 Coach of Year.  The man who helped put OSU baseball on the map takes the award for the fifth time in his career, first winning it in 2005. Behind Casey the Beavers set a Pac-12 record with 27 conference wins, and are on pace for the greatest single-season winning percentage in history.

But wait, there’s still more.

Heimlich and fellow pitcher Jake Thompson were named First-Team All-Americans, and Madrigal was named a Third-Team All-American. The All-American selections are a first for all three players.

The future may bring some more hardware the Beavers’ way. Both Heimlich and Madrigal have been named semifinalist for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award, an award given annually to the top amateur player in the nation. The finalists for the award will be announced on June 14.

The Beavers get to put all this talent to good use on Friday when they host Holy Cross in the first game of the NCAA Regionals. First pitch is set for 8:00 at Goss Stadium.