NCAA baseball tournament live updates: Oregon State tries to cool off red-hot VCU – OregonLive.com
Live chat throughout the game in the comments section.
No. 2 seed Oregon State vs. No. 4 seed VCU
When: 4:05 p.m. PT
Where: Horner Ballpark; Dallas, Texas
On air: The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, which is available at espn.com or by downloading the Watch ESPN app; Radio on Rip City Radio AM 620 (Portland), KEJO-AM 1240 (Corvallis), KLZS 1450-AM (Eugene) and KKNX 840-AM (Eugene); Live stats can be found on the baseball schedule page at osubeavers.com
Records: Oregon State (39-16-1); VCU (38-22)
Probable starters: OSU right-hander Drew Rasmussen (7-3, 2.48) vs. TBA
The script: The Beavers didn’t let the disappointment of not hosting a regional affect their performance Friday. In front of a burnt-orange crowd, they topped No. 3 seed Texas 5-4. Left fielder Kyle Nobach’s RBI double in the eighth inning proved to be the game winner.
The victory was crucial given the Dallas Regional’s double-elimination format. OSU heads to the winners’ bracket, where it will face a red-hot VCU team Sunday. The loser will play the winner of Texas-Dallas Baptist at 6 p.m. PT in Game 5. Sunday’s winner will play the winner of Game 5 on Monday.
The opponent: Three and a half weeks ago, VCU was an underachiever. The preseason favorites to win the Atlantic 10 sat 26-22 after four straight losses. They finished fourth in the conference standings, but started playing like the team many had anticipated. The Rams won their final seven regular-season games before taking the A-10 tournament to snatch an automatic berth. The hot streak rolled on Friday, when they upset No. 1 seed Dallas Baptist in front of the Patriots’ home crowd. A five-run fourth inning offered ace JoJo Howie plenty of insurance as VCU won 7-2. Though the Rams have yet to announce a starter, they will likely send left-hander Heath Dwyer to the mound Sunday. The senior from Chandler, Arizona is 9-2 with a 2.95 ERA and 82 strikeouts.
Opposing player to watch: Shortstop Vimael Machin. The fourth-year starter from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico is perhaps the best player in the Dallas Regional that isn’t on most college baseball fans’ radar. He is hitting .336 with 50 RBIs, three home runs, 37 runs and six stolen bases.
Did you know: Seven OSU players made their postseason debuts Friday. Second baseman Christian Donahue, first baseman KJ Harrison, right fielder Elliott Cary, left fielder Kyle Nobach and third baseman Michael Gretler went a combined 7-for-17 (.412) with four RBIs in the win, including Nobach’s game-winner in the eighth. Relievers Scotland Church and Mitch Hickey also made their postseason debuts, combining to record the last four outs.
Did you know (bonus): Clackamas High School product Cooper Mickelson (.177, 4 RBIs) plays second base for the Rams. He was a Cavaliers teammate of Beavers great Ben Wetzler. Elliott Cary, OSU’s starting right fielder as a freshman, is also a Clackamas alum.
Key stat: Drew Rasmussen, OSU’s starter Sunday, is 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 31 1/3 innings in nonconference games. Only three of his eight nonconference appearances have been starts.
Series: This will be the first time OSU has played VCU. The Beavers are 3-0 all-time against Atlantic 10 teams, taking one from Richmond in 1986 and one in both 2007 and 2012 against St. Louis.
OSU quotable: “We’re not going to get any better. We’re not going to learn any new fundamentals. We’ve just got to execute them well. I want the guys to stay loose.” — head coach Pat Casey
VCU quotable: “We don’t feel like that’s an upset. We went out and played our game. “If you look at our scores, that’s how we pitch, that’s how we play defense.” — head coach Shawn Stiffler after Friday’s win over Dallas Baptist
— Connor Letourneau