After a dramatic win in game one of the CWS, OSU now turns their attention to the LSU Tigers.
Oregon State (55-4) vs. LSU (49-17)
Monday @ 4:00 (PST) p.m. on ESPN
The Beavers showed signs of being over-excited and nervous in their first game against Cal State Fullerton, but I think it turned out to be a good thing for the Beavers. Every time this season they’ve lost a game or been really close to a loss, it’s brought them back to earth and humbled them to where they go on an incredible hot-streak afterwards.
OSU was extremely lucky to get a win when their ace had his worst performance of the season. Very few teams are good enough to overcome the kind of game that Jake Thompson had in game one. Luckily for OSU fans, the Beavers are good enough to overcome just about anything.
I thought OSU pressed at the plate at times on Saturday, and that cost them several opportunities to score more runs. They will need to be more disciplined at the plate on Monday to come away with a win against LSU.
OSU player to watch
KJ Harrison: By his standards, Harrison had a rough day against the Titans after hitting well over .400 in postseason play prior to Omaha. He did not record a hit against CSF and that will certainly change against LSU. Harrison is the type of player that doesn’t string multiple bad games together, he will be looking to bounce back in a big way against LSU.
Thoughts on LSU
The Tigers didn’t play their best baseball of the season in their first game, and arguably stole a win against Florida State thanks in part to three errors committed by the Seminoles late in the game. Like the Beavers, LSU is such a good team, you always expect them to be in the game, and in a way you expect them to find a way to come back and win. Every time FSU punched LSU in the gut, LSU punched right back, and in the end the Tigers were able to deliver the knockout blow.
I was really impressed with LSU in a number of ways, but the most impressive to me was how similar the play like OSU. Like the Beavers, they put a lot of pressure on you via baserunning and timely hitting. They are a team that will make you play if you walk them, or give them second chances.
LSU player to watch
Antoine Duplantis: He is hitting .326 on the season, and is the team leader in batting average for those players who qualify. Duplantis isn’t a power guy, as he’s only hit one home-run on the season, but is rather a great contact hitter. He leads the team with 85 hits on the year, and has only struck out 27 times. He reminds me a lot of Nick Madrigal in the way that he gives the Tigers exactly what they need each and every time he steps into the batter’s box.
Both teams use second starting pitcher
An interesting note to consider is that LSU and OSU both used a big-time starter in relief on Saturday. For the Beavers, their “Sunday” starter Drew Rasmussen was called on to finish the game and threw only 12 pitches. LSU threw their typical “Saturday” guy Jared Poché in 2 ⅔ innings of relief against FSU.
It was an interesting gamble by both squads to use the arm of a regular starter out of the bullpen but it just shows how important the first win is in Omaha. It’s almost a win at all costs mentality.
The question is, will it come back to haunt the Beavers or the Tigers?
Bryce Fehmel: 3.80 ERA, 5-3 W-L, 71 IP, 45 K, 17 BB, .240 opp avg
Eric Walker: 3.46 ERA, 8-1 W-L, 93.2 IP, 78 K, 23 BB, .232 opp avg
I’ve got back and forth on this one several times, and I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the Beavers and Tigers are two very equally matched teams. Both are coming into Omaha on incredible hot streaks, and both teams had to come from behind to win game one.
The key matchup in my opinion is going to be the pitching matchup.
Bryce Fehmel delivered a tremendous performance against Vanderbilt last week, but can he do it again?
Eric Walker has been absolutely dynamite for the Tigers this season but is only a freshman. Will the lights be too bright for him Monday night with big time stakes on the line? Time will tell.
Whichever pitcher performs better for his team will get the victory. In this case, I see Fehmel throwing another gem and leading the Beavers to another victory. But it will be very close.
Beavers win 5-4