After seeing their 23 game winning streak snapped in 3-2 loss against arch-rival Washington on Thursday, the Beavers responded by defeating the Huskies 5-2 and 3-0 on Friday and Saturday.
Oregon State: 30-2 (14-1 Pac-12)
1st in Pac-12 with a five game lead on second place Arizona
The Beavers took care of business on Friday and Saturday to take the series against UW 2-1. Given that the Beavers won two of three, they will stay steady at No. 1 in the polls. In terms of the Pac-12 standings, the Beavers have widened their lead for first place thanks to their series win against UW and now have a five game lead over second place Arizona. Based on how the Beavers have played thus far, they are in a very good spot to win their first Pac-12 title since 2014.
While the Beavers did indeed lose their winning streak against the Huskies, I think it was a necessary thing for the Beavers. Even though OSU acknowledged that the streak wasn’t in their minds as they went to play each game, it had to be in the back of their head. At times, it appeared the Beavers were playing too tight. Even though the loss gave the Beavers their first conference loss, it appeared to motivate the players in Friday and Saturday's game and could serve as motivation for the rest of the season.
Next Up: UCLA
The Beavers won their 7th straight Pac-12 series thanks to their Saturday and Sunday wins against Washington. Even though the streak was snapped to UW, the Beavers proved that losing one game doesn’t deter them. OSU has now won 25 of their last 26th and appear to be in the driver's seat for the rest of the season.
Next up, the Beavers will head to Jackie Robinson stadium to take on a UCLA team that has struggled with consistency this season. After OSU plays UCLA, they will not have to travel out of the state of Oregon for the rest of the regular season.
Jake Thompson: Up
Statistically speaking, Jake Thompson might be the hottest pitcher the Beavers have right now. Thompson’s last three starts against Stanford, Utah and Washington have been absolutely superb. In his last 23 innings, he has allowed just 14 hits and one run, with 21 strikeouts during that stretch. Given that Thompson has struggled with consistency and injuries for the last few years, it’s good news for Beaver fans that he is dominating the competition in his senior season. As long as Thompson continues to stifle opponents on Sunday’s, the Beavers have a chance to win a series every weekend.
Adley Rutschman: Up
The Beavers freshman catcher appears to be getting more and more comfortable with each game he plays. Rutschman tallied five hits and one rbi over the weekend, and for a guy that was batting under .200 heading into this series, that is great progress on the offensive end. Since his arrival in Corvallis, he was noted as being one of the best catchers that Pat Casey has ever seen but struggled at the plate. Now that Rutschman arguably had his best weekend of the series and his average climbed above .200, he could be a crucial bat for the Beavers in the bottom of the lineup. He is only going to get better as the season progresses.
Steven Kwan: Up
The sophomore outfielder has been a nice addition to the lineup as of late. He was the hero last week in the walkoff win against Utah and continued his consistency this past weekend against the Huskies. Kwan had five hits over the weekend and his ability to run the bases is what is most impressive to me. He is one of OSU’s quickest base runners and gives the Beavers an opportunity to score from first on many occasions because of his speed. Another underrated part of Kwan’s game is his ability to lay down the bunt. Kwan’s baseball fundamentals give the Beavers extra boost each game and they will be in good shape if he continues to play at a high level.
Luke Heimlich: Slightly Down
It’s pretty hard to find someone whose stock is “down” so I settled on Luke Heimlich. Heimlich struggled by his standards for the second straight week. While the Beavers got the victory against Utah in his last outing, he wasn’t as sharp as he normally was. This week, Heimlich really wasn’t himself as he allowed seven hits, three runs (one earned), and was saddled with his first loss of the season. Granted, if Nick Madrigal makes the routine throw to first base in the sixth inning, the complexity of the game might change entirely. Regardless of the outside factors, Heimlich needs to rediscover his groove for the Beavers. Many media outlets had him pegged as the midseason pitcher of the year, and if the Beavers are going to make a deep run in the postseason, they need their ace to bring his best stuff from here on out.