Rivalry Week has arrived in Pac-12 Conference Baseball and the Oregon Ducks(31-10, 10-5 Pac-12) and Oregon State Beavers(27-7, 11-4 Pac-12) are moving toward a battle this weekend in Corvallis. Oregon brings along a nine game winning streak into the Civil War Series. The Beavers have lost two of their last five games, including the opener of a two game series at Sacramento State 7-6 on Monday night. The fifth ranked team in the country did rebound on Tuesday with an 8-1 win. Prior to the series with Sacramento State OSU were winners of seven of eight straight games.
Right now it should be the Oregon Ducks that are in the tailspin with injuries to their pitching staff. Oregon Coach George Horton has had to handle the loss of two starting pitchers this season. Sophomore Cole Irvin was lost before the season even started to Tommy John Surgery and earlier this week Freshman Starter Matt Krook had Tommy John Surgery on his left elbow following an injury suffered several weeks ago at Washington. Through that loss Oregon has found a way with now Saturday Starter Jeff Gold who brings a 9-0 record into the weekend and Friday Starter Tommy Thorpe returning to early season dominating form. Last week he held Washington State to two hits in seven innings in an 11-1 Oregon victory. The Oregon Ducks have also found a way to get on base.
The early part of the Oregon Ducks lineup has done quite a bit of damage over the last month including Tyler Baumgartner, Mitchell Tolman and Kyle Garlick including six hits and seven runs combined in the series last weekend against the Cougars. However, playing in Corvallis is a different story.
Oregon State is 9-2 at home since Oregon’s baseball reinstatement in 2009 and if they have the lead in hits this season the Beavers are 22-0. One Beaver to watch this weekend is Michael Conforto. The Junior outfielder is hitting .324 against the Oregon Ducks through nine career games. The pitching matchup for the Ducks remains the same.
Friday night will see Tommy Thorpe against OSU Senior Ben Wetzler, who is going for his 31st Career Victory. Saturday’s game sets up with 9-0 Oregon Starter Jeff Gold opposing Oregon State’s Andrew Moore. On Sunday Oregon could use either Brando Tessar or Trent Paddon. The idea of former starter now closer Jeff Gold returning to the starting rotation has also been tossed around by the Oregon Pitching staff due to the mounting injuries. I would expect either Tessar or Paddon to be the go to guy for the finale though.
All three games this weekend are televised. Friday’s game is at 7pm PT(Pac-12 Networks), Saturday is set for 3pm PT(Pac-12 Networks) and the Sunday finale at 1pm(ESPNU).