(Photo: Kimmy Davis/WCSN)
At long last, Arizona State starts Pac-12 play when it welcomes last year’s conference champion Oregon State to Phoenix Municipal Stadium for a weekend series.
ASU currently has a 10-5 record, and for the most part, has looked pretty impressive. However, that was not the case in its last game when they eked out an uninspiring 5-4 victory over UNLV.
So far, Oregon State has been excellent, boasting a 14-3 record and going 3-1 in the Pac-12 – Big 12 Tournament in the Valley. Moreover, the Beavers are red hot, and are riding a ten-game winning streak into their first Pac-12 series.
OSU is coached by Pat Casey, who has been wonderful in Corvallis, routinely leading the Beavers to the College World Series. Casey began his coaching career at George Fox University in 1988, and was then hired by OSU in 1995.
During his tenure, Casey owns a .639 winning percentage, has four conference titles (2005, 2006, 2013, 2014) and has won two national championships (2006, 2007).
Although the Beavers lost several impact hitters from last year, most notably All-American Michael Conforto, they still have a knack for swinging loud bats in 2015.
Of the 10 players hitting over the .300 mark, catcher KJ Harrison truly stands out. Harrison has a .441 average, 30 hits, 21 runs, seven doubles, three triples, six home runs, .897 slugging and 24 RBI.
It may seem cumbersome to list all of those offensive categories out, but Harrison leads OSU in each one.
Two more impact hitters for the Beavers are Trever Morrison and Gabe Clark, each of whom are more than capable of breaking a game open with their bats.
One could argue that their series’ against Grambling State and Fresno State inflated the offensive numbers for the Beavers, but sloppy pitching against this offense will spell doom for the Sun Devils.
As for OSU’s pitching staff, the weekend trio is Andrew Moore, Drew Rasmussen and Travis Eckert.
Moore has pitched his way to a 1.76 ERA and was electric last Friday in the Beavers 2-1 win over Fresno State. He pitched ten innings, striking out 10 and allowing only one run and just three hits.
His magnificent outing earned him Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors.
Rasmussen and Eckert won’t offer any relief for the Sun Devils on Saturday and Sunday, as they both 1.88 and 2.70 ERAs, respectively.
So despite the roster losses from last season, the Beavers have picked up right where they left off in 2014 and will make a worthy opponent for the Sun Devils this weekend.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, with Seth Martinez taking the hill for the Sun Devils against Moore for the Beavers.