Beavers hit the road this week
CORVALLIS — After six straight home games, the Oregon State baseball team is on the road all week.
The Beavers (15-2, 3-0 Pac-12) will face Portland (11-8) in a nonconference game at 6 p.m. today before opening a critical three-game Pac-12 series at California (11-6, 1-2) on Thursday.
California began Pac-12 play last week with a series loss at USC, falling 5-4 in Sunday’s rubber match. OSU swept Arizona State in its first conference series.
“Cal is as good as anyone is this league,” OSU coach Pat Casey said. “I think the one thing you have to do in conference is measure it by wins and losses. Because you can play great and get beat and you feel terrible, and you can play average and win. In this conference you don’t win the thing on opening weekend. It’s a long haul with 30 games, but to get off to a good start is certainly something you want to do.”
The Golden Bears were picked to finish third in the Pac-12 coaches’ preseason poll while OSU was the favorite to win the conference.
UNSETTLED LINEUP: OSU trotted out a different batting order in every game against the Sun Devils.
Caleb Hamilton, Steven Kwan and Kyle Nobach each received a start in center field. Hamilton also started at third before moving to left field in Saturday’s win.
Logan Ice (catcher), KJ Harrison (first base), Nick Madrigal (second), Trever Morrison (shortstop), Christian Donahue (left field), Jack Anderson (right field) and Billy King (designated hitter) started all three games.
“We’re trying to get guys some at-bats,” Casey said. “(Trevor) Larnach needs to get going a little bit, Billy King needs to get going a little bit, Donahue has been lights out for us. We played a different lineup all three days and it’s starting to click for us.”
CLIMBING IN THE POLLS: The Beavers are now a unanimous top-three team by college baseball’s four major polls, which were released Monday morning.
OSU jumped to second in Collegiate Baseball’s poll after checking in at No. 6 last week. The Beavers are ranked third by D1Baseball, Perfect Game and Baseball America.
Florida (21-1) is No. 1 in all four polls.
BEAVERS, BRUINS LEAD: UCLA, the conference’s reigning champion, is tied with OSU atop the standings after sweeping Washington State last week.
Utah, Washington and USC are all one game back at 2-1.
The Utes took two of three at Oregon while Washington won a home series against Arizona.
Stanford swept three nonconference games with Kansas last weekend and opens Pac-12 play Friday against the Washington State.