OMAHA, Neb. — Andrew Moore has had a phenomenal freshman campaign on the mound for the Oregon State baseball team.
He's 14-1 with a 1.57 ERA and got the start for the Beavers in the College World Series opener last Saturday against Mississippi State, a game the Beavers eventually lost 5-4.
In 2012, Jace Fry had a standout freshman season for the Beavers, posting a 5-3 mark with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts, which included three complete games.
After the season, Fry underwent Tommy John surgery and didn't make his return to mound until May 5 when he threw one-third of an inning against California. He has thrown just 41/3 innings in five appearances this season.
When the Beavers take the field at noon today in an elimination game against Mississippi State, either Moore or Fry will be the starter on the mound.
After Thursday's practice at Creighton University, coach Pat Casey wasn't sure which would be the starter.
"It's up to the guys, really," he said. "I want to make sure (Moore) gets all the rest he gets. If he feels good (Friday) he's certainly a guy who could go. The reason I would like to start Fry is just the fact that he could get up and get hot and we'd know when he was going to pitch and how much he was going to pitch and it would be over with."
Both played catch at the start of practice and Casey said they would get a light workout in later Thursday.
"When they get up (Friday), they're going to be real honest," Casey said. "Jace is ready to go, there's no question about that. Mo being a freshman guy, I just want to make sure he's 100 percent. If he's not, it's an easy decision. Jace is ready to go."
If the Beavers win today, they would play the Bulldogs again on Saturday for a trip to the best-of-three championship series starting Monday, so the one who doesn't start today could be the Saturday guy.
"It would be nice to have a real quality fourth starter right now where you didn't have to go back to somebody they've already seen," Casey said. "That's why I'm thinking about Jace (for Friday)."
Moore, who worked 71/3 innings and gave up four runs against the Bulldogs in the CWS opener, said Thursday he plans to make the decision difficult on his coach.
"I threw a little bullpen (Wednesday) just in case they needed me in relief or whatever," Moore said. "I felt great, felt like my off-speed stuff was definitely a lot better than it was on Saturday, so just making steps to make it the toughest decision possible on him."
Moore had one bad inning when he gave up three runs in the second against the Bulldogs. Part of that could be attributed to nerves, pitching in his first CWS game.
"I feel like toward the fifth and sixth innings, I started to calm down a little bit," Moore said. "That's when I started to get my slider and curveball back a little bit. It's nothing too different just making sure I'm ready when I go out there and just controlling the emotions a little bit. Like last time getting ahead of hitters but this time making that small adjustment to make better two-strike pitches."
As Casey said, Fry is ready to go. But on Thursday, Fry wasn't trying to stay even-keeled.
"It's nothing I can really control so I'm just going to wait for their call," he said.
Fry did say it would be easier for him to start.
"I haven't had any complications with getting warmed up or anything, but I feel like if I were to start it would be easier to settle in that way instead of having to go straight out of the pen," he said.
Whoever starts will be following up Matt Boyd's virtuoso performance on Wednesday when the senior lefty struck out 11 and tossed a four-hit shutout against Indiana.
"Watching him just dominate the hitters like that is always a good pick up, makes the pitchers feel good," Fry said. "We're going to pitch to our own abilities though. We're not going to try to pitch like he did."
Fry has been, and still is, on a pitch count. So how long can he go if he starts?
"As long as they need me," he said.
If Fry starts, Moore could also be used in relief. He has made one relief appearance, going four innings to pick up a save at San Diego on March 29.
"Whichever way, I'll be ready when they need me so just excited to get to go out there again," Moore said.
Speaking of relief, Casey said Max Engelbrekt, who had been the closer toward the end of the season but injured his back in the first game of the Corvallis Super Regional and hasn't pitched since, is ready to go if needed.
"The more days of rest we gave him, the better," Casey said. "I guess he was really moving around in the pen (Thursday)."
Is it a concern that Engelbrekt hasn't pitched since June 8?
"You'd be a little bit concerned about a few things but Max is a competitor and he's going to give you everything he's got," Casey said. "Like I said, we're just looking for the best guy to come out of the pen that can do it and do it with confidence."