SEATTLE, WA — Oregon State is 30-2 after winning two of three in Seattle versus a solid Washington club. The record is remarkable enough. How the Beavers are doing it is on another level, entirely: They do everything.
In 32 games OSU has scored 179 runs. That's 5.6 runs per game. It sounds good on the surface — and it is — but it ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12, and for a team that has just two defeats all year, it's really not that daunting of an offensive output, and that's because OSU is a complete team.
Head coach Pat Casey's crew wins with key offensive execution, the best pitching in college baseball and a sophomore named Nick Madrigal.
The Beavers lead the country in runs allowed by 30 runs over the next-closest pitching staff (Louisville). They lead the Pac-12 by 50 runs — or more than 1.5 runs per game.
Think about this for a second: In 32 games, Oregon State has allowed 50 fewer runs than any other team in the conference and 30 fewer runs than any team in the entire country. That explains why they're 30-2 and went undefeated in March.
And they're doing this without ace Drew Rasmussen, who entered the season a potential Top 50 pick in June's MLB Draft. Lefty Luke Heimlich (5-1, 0.83 ERA, 70 SO, 14 BB, 65 IP) has stepped up, as has Jake Thompson (8-0, 1.03 ERA, 64 SO, 21 BB, 61 IP).
The bullpen is deep and versatile, led by Jake Mulholland and Max Engelbrekt, who have combined for 10 saves and just 23 hits allowed in 44 innings.
As ordinary as their offense seems relative to their pitching numbers, the Beavers do a tremendous job situationally. When the game calls for a sacrifice bunt, Steven Kwan, Cadyn Grenier or Michael Gretler get it down and move the runner.
When they need a long ball to break a tie, they get it from K.J. Harrison or Grenier. They'll also get a key stolen base from Harrison, Kwan or Christian Donahue.
Perhaps the greatest single reason the Beavers are No. 1 and en route to hosting a regional is sophomore Nick Madrigal. The 5-foot-7 165-pound heartbeat of the OSU baseball team.
The Elk Grove native leads the Beavers in … pretty much everything. He's tops in batting average (.392), on-baseball percentage (.459) and, yes, slugging percentage (.585). His nine stolen bases lead the team, as do his 12 doubles. His three home runs are second to Grenier's four.
Madrigal also is a tremendous defensive player, saving runs left and right with diving stops, leaping grabs and play around the second-base bag reminiscent of a veteran big leaguer.
Thursday in Seattle Madrigal saved the Beavers' 1-0 leads with two big-time plays at shortstop. Friday, as the second baseman, a ridiculous vertical leap launched Madrigal skyward to snare a line drive late in a close game that OSU went on to win.
[credit]Madrigal made this leaping grab Friday in a win over Washington. (Jim Oxley/HERO Sports)
Madrigal isn't alone defensively. Greinier flashes the leather plenty, the entire outfield makes plays regularly and freshman catcher Adley Rutschman is considered among the better defensive catchers in the conference.
Madrigal also is clutch at the plate. After the sixth inning in close games — tied, within a run either way — Madrigal is batting .443 with just two strikeouts. He's whiffed just six times all season.
Casey is no stranger to postseason success. He has two national titles under his belt (2006, 2007) and four College World Series appearances. But for just the second time in 12 seasons, the Beavers missed the postseason a year ago despite a 35-19 overall mark.
Not only is the postseason not in question this season, but Oregon State is among the favorites to win it all. Perhaps being left home last spring was all they could take.
Either way, the Beavers are legit, and they do it by doing everything.
HERO Sports is dedicated to college football, with an emphasis on FCS coverage. We are proud to be the go-to site for comprehensive FCS analysis for fans across the country. HERO Sports also publishes betting odds and insights for FBS games.