When Oregon State started looking into its Super Regional opponent, one thing became obvious very quickly.
Kansas State can swing the bats.
Whether it be from looking at stats, or taking in some of the action from last weekend’s regional in Manhattan, the Beavers have taken notice.
Oregon State (47-10) will host K-State (43-17) this weekend at home in a best-of-three format, to decide which team will be advancing to the College World Series.
Beaver freshman pitcher Andrew Moore, who boasts a 13-1 record and 1.22 ERA, said he’s seen enough to know it will be a competitive matchup.
“I don’t know a whole lot about Kansas State’s hitters — obviously we’ve seen the stats — they’re a very good hitting team, a very competitive club,” Moore told the Oregon State athletics website. “This is the first time they’ve been in this situation so they’re going to be fired up. It’s going to be a fun weekend with our pitching staff and their hitting.”
Outfielder Dylan Davis, who leads the team with a .349 batting average, said he watched the Wildcats’ games from this past weekend and saw what they’re capable of at the plate.
Beavers’ coach Pat Casey said the pitchers know K-State isn’t a team you can afford to let get ahead of you at the plate.
“We just got to keep them out of fastball counts,” he said. “They like to get hit, they like to walk and they swing good bats. We’ve got to get ahead of them in the count.”
Oregon State is the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament, making its 14th appearance in the NCAA postseason. The Beavers are 40-26 all-time in postseason play, and won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007.
Casey said his team will go into this weekend focusing as if they would any other weekend during the season, but being aware that more is on the line.
“We’ve talked about just doing the same thing all the time,” he said. “Every game is important, every pitch is important, and obviously the stakes continue to get higher because now we’re in Super Regionals. We’re not going to do anything different. We’ll still be sharp.”
Davis echoed his coach’s words, saying it’s too late in the game to change anything from what you’ve been doing all season long. The only thing you can do, he said, is try to improve as you go.
“At this point of the season you don’t need to do a lot more,” he said. “(It’s) just mentally thinking about what we want to do over the weekend and really challenging yourself to be better the next week. And I think that’s something we’ve been really good at all year.”
Both K-State and Oregon State are riding high on confidence after winning conference titles and sweeping through regional play in three games.
Casey said the more a team wins as it gets closer to Omaha, Neb., and the College World Series, the better it gets.
“The more you win, the more confident you get,” he said. “Courage and confidence are like Siamese twins, you can’t separate them and survive. If you’re confident, you’re going to have courage.”