OSU baseball to play twin bill in Medford
Over the last few years, the ties between the Medford Rogues and the Oregon State baseball program have become stronger and more prevalent.
This fall, they’re adding another one to the list.
The Rogues announced Thursday that they will be hosting a doubleheader between Oregon State and the University of San Francisco at Harry & David Field as part of the Beavers’ fall ball slate of games. The twin bill is set for Saturday, Oct. 16, with Game 1 starting at 1 p.m. and the nightcap scheduled to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. in Medford.
“It all just kind of happened within a week and everything fell into place for us,” Rogues general manager Dave May said. “Fortunately, we have that relationship with Oregon State and their athletic department, their baseball team specifically, to allow us to do this. It’s just neat, it’s just cool, I’m just jacked about it.”
Season ticket holders currently have a one-week window for the first right of refusal for the Beavs’ visit to Medford. After that window closes early next week, tickets will go on sale to the general public starting Monday, Sept. 27.
As of now, a total 1,300 tickets will be made available, according to May.
One ticket will be good for both games. They can be purchased on the Rogues’ website, www.medfordrogues.com or by calling the team’s office at 541-973-2883.
May also noted that regular ticket prices for Rogues games will apply to the OSU-USF doubleheader, with general admission prices staying at $10.
“I do think it’s going to go pretty quick,” said May, adding that the team will follow the state’s COVID-19 guidelines come October. “We didn’t jack up the prices because Oregon State is coming to town. We want people to be there to see this since it’s the first time that something like this has happened. We’re not trying to charge 30 bucks a ticket and make it something like that.”
“You think, ‘Saturday in October, what are you going to run into?’ But the good news for us is that the Beavers have a bye week and the Ducks play Friday night,” May continued. “We know what we’re up against putting a game together in October, so we got pretty lucky with that one.”
Oregon State, coming off a 37-24 season and a Super Regional appearance, will be bringing as much of their ‘A’ team as possible, according to May. The Beavers also have a pair of Rogue Valley natives on their coaching staff, with Medford’s Rich Dorman and Ryan Gipson of Central Point.
All of the Rogues’ coaching staff played baseball at Oregon State, which will bring extra significance and appreciation for the Beavers’ visit to the valley.
“For those guys (on the coaching staff), it’s kind of a cool homecoming and they’re going to have a lot of family coming to those games really easily. It was a good fit for everybody,” said Rogues manager Bill Rowe, who was an assistant at OSU during its run to the College World Series in 2018.
The conversations about a potential fall ball event in Medford started over the summer when OSU head coach Mitch Canham came to Harry & David Field to watch a few of his players who were on the Rogues roster play.
After seeing what Harry & David Field has to offer, Canham approached Rowe — who just so happens to be his former college roommate after the latter transferred to OSU — about the possibility of making something happen in the fall.
And as you might have guessed, there was no objection from the Rogues’ end of things.
“I think you have to give the credit to Mitch Canham — he came down to watch a game and just kind of loved the environment and the vibe that was going on at the stadium,” Rowe said. “It was his suggestion, honestly, just to see if the Beavs could come down. I just stayed on his case about it and did what I could from (the Rogues’) standpoint. We were going to be available for them whenever they wanted to come and we’re just excited to have them.
“Hopefully it’s the start of a long tradition and we’re going to do everything we can to make it as fun as we can for everyone.”
Rowe said he expects a good number of former OSU players to make their way to Medford next month, taking advantage of the fall weather in the Rogue Valley and making a weekend out of it.
“I know a lot of the boosters and ex-players are excited about coming down to watch that game,” Rowe said. “It should be a little nicer weather down here at that point compared to other parts of the state, so we’ll be able to still play golf, go fishing and things like that.”
There’s also just the simple fact that two Division I baseball programs are coming to the Rogue Valley, including one that has a local flavor both on the roster and coaching staff.
“You got the Rogues guys, it’s a homecoming for those guys who spent either this past summer or the summer before with us,” May said. “It will be good to see those guys again, talk with them and see how they’re doing. It’s just a great opportunity. It’s something this area needs, it’s awesome for the area. Baseball runs thick through the area, but also Oregon State and the University of Oregon do, too.”
Despite it being in the fall, Rowe expects there to be some high-quality baseball being played between the Beavers and the Dons, who went 25-28 overall this spring and finished third in the West Coast Conference with a 16-11 record.
OSU and USF have played 15 regular-season games, with the Beavers holding a 10-5 record.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Rowe said. “The pitching is going to be fantastic, and it’s always interesting in these kinds of games because I feel like pitchers are farther ahead than hitters. Hitters haven’t gotten a chance, at least for a month, to have live pitching and some of these didn’t even play summer ball, so usually the pitching is a little bit stronger in fall ball games. But, there’s also the fact that almost everybody on those teams is capable of putting the ball out on any pitch and they’re using metal bats, so it should be interesting.”
May doesn’t want this October to be the only time a college baseball team from the state of Oregon makes their way down to Medford.
But at the same time, he knows he can’t get too far ahead of himself.
“First we have to put on a good show and then the Beavers will want to do this as an annual event,” May said. “That’s our goal to make this an annual event and hopefully the Beavs have a good enough time and they’re well taken care of here in Medford and we get that opportunity again. We’re hoping that’s what this leads to, but there’s no expectations on our end.
“We just want to put on a good event for the community at this point and do something that’s never been done with two Division I programs in our own backyard.”
Reach Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.