Beavers Lone Pac-12 Squad In Tourney As Visitors
The 38-18 (18-12) Oregon State Beavers finished the 2012 regular season on Sunday with a three game sweep over the rival Ducks. OSU finishes with seven wins in their last eight games, including four straight.
Now OSU’s attention turns to the NCAA Tournament where they will face off in the Baton Rouge region with host Louisiana State, Belmont and Louisiana Monroe.
The other Pac-12 teams into the tournament of 64 include the No. 2 UCLA Bruins, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal and No. 5 Oregon Ducks. All four teams are hosts in their opening regional.
The Beavers are fortunate in that they are in one of the weaker regionals, and could play host in a super regional if they were to advance.
There is no pleasure in having to travel to Baton Rouge, but the situation could be much worse for the Beavers. Taking a look at the teams in the Baton Rogue region, there is no reason to believe the Beavers can’t pull off the upset.
The LSU Tigers comes in as the No. 7 seed in the tournament behind the Florida Gators, UCLA, Florida State Seminoles, Baylor Bears, Oregon and North Carolina Tarheels. The two-time defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks round out the top-8 seeds.
LSU’s Raph Rhymes leads the NCAA in batting average, hitting .459 on the season with three home runs and a team-leading 50 RBI. Rhymes is one of the best outfielders in the nation, and still has another season of eligibility should he pass on major league baseball.
The Tigers, as a team, rank No. 43 nationally in team batting average with a mark of .295, as opposed to the Beavers at No. 108 with an average of .283.
But where the Beavers have an advantage is in strength of schedule. Many will argue that the SEC is a deeper league than the Pac-12, as has been the case in years past, but this year the comparison is moot.
Voters clearly took into account the strength of the Pac-12 conference, granting four schools home regionals. The SEC only was given two, LSU and No. 1 Florida.
The Beavers are also coming into the tournament at an incredibly hot rate. As has been the case in college baseball over the years, teams entering hot are more than likely to make a deep run into the bracket.
LSU, 43-16 (19-11), has lost five of its last nine games. Three of those five were by one run, two of which that went to a tenth inning.
Teams that can close have a huge advantage come postseason play. Every team is a quality opponent, and most games will be close.
Another important statistic is that LSU is much more dangerous in night games. The Tigers boast a record of 29-4 in night games and a record of just 14-12 in day games.
Half of the games will be played before 3 pm in EST, the other half at night. The losers of the first games will meet in the day game on Saturday.
It is imperative for the Beavers that LSU loses on the first day.