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Preview: Michigan Baseball v. Oregon State Double Entendres

It's gotta be hell to be a PAC-10 blogger. Imagine having to write about USC playing Oregon State every year, or Oregon State playing, well, anybody. While the joke might never get old to us, I'm sure it drives Jake over at Building the Dam nuts (heh).

Despite the wealth of jokes, the purpose of this post is to give you a little insight into Michigan's Super Regional host, Oregon State. The winner of this weekend's three game series earns the right to punch their ticket for Omaha and a berth in the College World Series.

Anyway, on to the Breakdown:

School: Oregon State

Nickname:  The Beavers

Mascot:  "Benny Beaver"

(insert joke here)

History:  Oregon State fielded it's first team in 1907. Since that time, Oregon state has captured NCAA titles in 1952 and 2006, and 22 conference titles.

Head Coach:  Pat Casey (Pac-10 Coach of the Year 2005, 2006; Baseball America Coach of the Year  2006)

2006-2007 Record: 42-18 (Home: 15-7; Away: 21-8; Neutral: 6-3; PAC-10: 10-14 [6th])

2006-2007 Season So Far: It's been a strange year for the Beavers. Despite racking up the third most wins of any team in the PAC-10, Oregon State had all kinds of trouble in conference this season. Starting out 2-4 in conference play, the Beaver went 1-2 against Washington and Washington State, got swept by Arizona and Arizona State. Strangely, the Beavers only seemed to come away with wins against California teams, taking 2 of 3 from USC, Cal, UCLA, and Stanford.

While Oregon State's record didn't look pretty at the end of the conference season, their body of work was impressive. Sweeping Georgia (sorry Kyle) and splitting a series with Texas A&M, Oregon State was playing very well early.  Further, take away their conference struggles, and Oregon State was 32-4 this year.

Oregon State got to the Super Regionals by topping Rutgers and Virgina in Charlottesville. Much like Michigan's triumph over Vanderbilt, Oregon State was expect to have a difficult time on the road against and Virginia team that had played well at home all year. Like Michigan, Oregon State didn't care and dispatched the Cavaliers 2 games to 1.

A Quick Scouting Report

Oregon State is a tough team to figure out. They don't hit a lot of homers. They don't steal a lot of bases. Their 405 runs were 30 fewer than Michigan's. While several members of the 2006 championship team remain, several key members are long gone.

But they win games.

It's difficult to overstate the importance of winning a College World Series, and doing it from the losers bracket. This is an experienced team that not only knows what it is capable of, but knows it has something extra come crunch time.

The way they do it is pitching. This year's Beaver team has given up only 29 home runs and limited their opposition to a .247 team batting average. Walks, hits, homers, and runs are all better than last year's championship team. Where Jonah Nickerson and Dallas Buck won 13 games last year, this year's team sports three 9 game winners and a fairly deep bullpen. In fact, Oregon State's given up 39 fewer runs than Michigan.

With the exception of Darwin Barney (17), they don't commit a lot of errors. The team's .977 fielding percentage is seven points better than Michigan.

On the field, the Beavers line up like this:

Chris Hopkins cf: .266; 50R; 2HR; 24RBI
Mitch Canham c: .323; 48R; 9HR; 54RBI
Mike Lissman lf: .325; 35R; 7HR; 47RBI
Darwin Barney ss: .296; 48R; 4HR; 48RBI
Jordan Lennerton 1b: .325; 35R; 7HR; 47RBI
Jason Ogata dh: .295; 31R; 4HR; 40RBI
Braden Wells rf: .279; 17R; 0HR; 3RBI
Joey Wong 2b: .283; 36R; 0HR; 13 RBI
Lonnie Lechelt 3b: .240; 13R; 2HR; 10RBI

Joe Patterson P: 9-6; 3.81 ERA

Batting Team Leaders

AVG: Mike Lissman .327; Jordan Lennerton .325; Mitch Canham .323; Darwin Barney .296

SLG: Mitch Canham .535; Jordan Lennerton .534; Mike Lissman .491; Darwin Barney .432

Hits: Darwin Barney 74; Mike Lissman 72; Mitch Canham 64; Jordan Lennerton 62

HR: Mitch Canham 9; Mike Lissman 8; Jordan Lennerton 7; Two Tied at 4

RBI: Mike Lissman 56; Mitch Canham 54; Darwin Barney 48; Jordan Lennerton 47

Runs: Chris Hopkins 50; Darwin Barney 48; Mitch Canham 48; Mike Lissman 45

Walks: Mitch Canham 37; Chris Hopkins 31; Two tied at 30

SB: Chris Hopkins 14-19; Darwin Barney 12-15; Braden Wells 10-13

Pitching Team Leaders

Wins: Daniel Turpen 9-1 (3.65); Mike Stutes 9-4 (4.05); Joe Paterson 9-6 (3.81); Jorge Reyes 5-3 (3.48)

ERA (Min 10 games): Mark Grbavac 2.36 (0-1); Anton Maxwell 2.42 (3-1); Eddie Kunz 3.05 (3-1); Jorge Reyes 3.48 (5-3)

Innings: Joe Paterson 118; Mike Stutes 113.1; Daniel Turpen 88.2; Jorge Reyes 62

SO: Mike Stutes 111 K/51 BB; Joe Paterson 74 K/25 BB; Daniel Turpen 57 K/22 BB; Jorge Reyes 57 K/15 BB  

Saves: Eddie Kunz 10 (3-1, 3.05)

That's what we're looking at.

Go Blue!