Corvallis, Ore. will host yet another NCAA Regional tournament on Friday as one of the 16 regional sites across the country. The four-team regional is fairly stacked, headlined by the No. 3 National seed and regional host Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers are joined by LSU, San Diego State and Northwestern State.
Action begins on Friday at 1 p.m. EST with No. 2 regional seed LSU taking on No. 3 regional seed San Diego State. At 7 p.m., host Oregon State takes on No. 4 seed Northwestern State. Both games will air on ESPNU.
Let’s break down the four teams that will face off at Goss Stadium this weekend:
No. 1 Oregon State Beavers (No. 3 National Seed)
44-10-1 (20-9-1 Pac-12)
The number three overall seed will host its seventh Regional since 2005 and build on another impressive regular season in 2018. The Beavers finished second in the Pac-12 behind the Stanford Cardinal, and it came down to the final game of the season. The Beavs started to click again in early April after a rough roadtrip to Utah and Arizona. Oregon State won their final nine series to close out the season and look to carry that momentum into the NCAA Regional.
Washington hands Stanford and Tristan Beck a 4-2 loss. OSU is now just a half-game back in the standings entering the final day of the Pac-12 season. Tomorrow is going to be fun. #GoBeavs— Bob Lundeberg (@The_Real_Bob) May 26, 2018
Player to Watch
OF, Trevor Larnach. (.324/.447/.637)
The All-American is dangerous every time he steps to the plate, as his slash line suggests. Larnach started all 55 games in 2018 for the Beavers with 204 at bats. He lead the team in home runs (17), RBIs (64), and total bases (130). Oregon State will need him to stay hot if they are going to make another run to Omaha.
No. 2 LSU Tigers
37-25 (15-15 SEC)
LSU makes their first ever trek to Corvallis this weekend and looks to build on their 2017 success. Beavers fans know LSU well, as the College Baseball blue blood knocked the Beavers around in Omaha a year ago, accounting for a full third of the Beavers losses in 2017. However, the 2017 CWS runner-up will start postseason play against San Diego State, so the Beavers won’t get the much anticipated rematch until round two or three of the regional round. This is a much different LSU team than last year, as they were significantly more successful at home (29-8) than on the road (4-14). LSU made a run in the SEC Tournament, but fell to a talented Ole Miss team in the final, 9-1.
Player to Watch
OF, Daniel Cabrera (.330/.421/.557)
Cabrera, only a freshman, has been stellar for the Tigers in 2018. He was second on the team in batting average, total bases (113), doubles (18) and hits (67); and led the team in RBIs (52), walks (33) and tied for the lead in HRs (8). Cabrera does strike out a lot, though, and will need to cut down on that in Corvallis if his team is going to make a run to the Super Regionals in 2018.
No. 3 San Diego State Aztecs
39-19 (18-12 MWC)
The Aztecs made the postseason following another Mountain West title, this time by way of their conference tournament. This is SDSU’s fifth MW title in six years, and they are riding high following their most recent conference title run. The Aztecs last visited Corvallis in 2016 and split a two-game series with the Beavers, but this time they open up against LSU. The Aztecs best attribute is their pitching staff, as they led the Mountain West with a 3.88 ERA and are a tough team to score on.
Player to Watch
1B, Jordan Verdon (.341/.394/.620)
The junior started all 58 games for the Aztecos and had 229 at-bats, amassing 78 hits, good for second on the team. His batting average of .341 was also second on the team. Verdon is a pure power hitter, slugging 12 homers, 26 doubles, 65 RBI and a .620 slugging percentage, all of which lead the team. Verdon is also a great defensive player and will need to perform in all facets of his game to get past a talented LSU team.
No. 4 Northwestern State Demons
37-22 (18-12 Southland)
Similar to San Diego State, NSU also won their conference tourney to advance to an NCAA Regional. This is the Demons’ first trip to the postseason in 13 years, after a regular season that saw them exceed expectations by a large margin. The Demons only won 20 games in 2017. In 2018 they won 37 games, with their most impressive stretch being 16 wins in 20 games to end the year. Northwestern State has never played Oregon State or SDSU in its history but has played LSU a few times, most recently being this season when they fell to the Tigers 9-5. The Demons played well against lower competition this season but didn’t fare well against Power 5 conferences, going 2-5 on the season season. NSU may still be sneaky-tough in the Regional, as two of the teams are entirely unfamiliar with the Demons’ style of play. Besides, they’re playing with house money at this point.
Player to Watch
1B, David Fry (.336/.444/.626)
The outstanding senior started all 59 games for the Demons, leading them in just about every category, and in many there wasn’t a close second behind him. Fry lead the Demons in at-bats (235), hits (79), runs (47), doubles (26), triples (3), home runs (12), RBI (55), total bases (147), slugging percentage (.626), walks (37), on base percentage (.444) and batting average (.336). Fry was also third on the team in fielding percentage with (.991). In short, he is far and away their most productive player and makes the Demons go. The Beavers will make somebody else beat them in the opening matchup and it will be interesting to see how NSU adjusts.
Congratulations to @DavidFry_cmh2 being named third-team All-American first baseman by Collegiate Baseball magazine. NSU's first non-pitcher All-American since Ryan Anholt in 1999. #ChangedIt #StandUnited #DoubleDave pic.twitter.com/KSwhlzcn9a— NSU Baseball (@NSUDemonsBSB) May 31, 2018
The Corvallis Regional is going to be a competitive region. Four teams from different parts of the country are meeting up in the northwest, and many of them unfamiliar with one another, making for a very interesting double elimination tourney. The headliner of course being the potential rematch of last year’s CWS matchup of Oregon State and LSU. A series in which the Tigers got the best of the Beavers in Omaha, and those same Beavers have waited nearly a year to get some redemption. Strap in, it’s going to be a great Regional in Corvallis, Ore.
The Beavers get their long-awaited redemption on the Tigers with the Aztecs finishing third and the Demons fourth.