The Oregon State Beavers are gunning for their third college baseball championship in school history. They were the No. 1 overall seed and have lived up to the billing thus far. Oregon State hasn’t dropped a game since losing to USC back on April 29 and it has routed its competition in the postseason to this point. The Beavers are 5-0 and haven’t won a game by less than four runs. That means the Cal State Fullerton Titans are going to have their work cut out for them.
This game will take place at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017. It will be broadcast on ESPN.
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With Luke Heimlich unlikely to suit up for Oregon State again, Jake Thompson is likely to get the call for this game. Thompson was superb in 17 starts this year and can absolutely shove. He is 14-0 with a 1.52 ERA and has four different pitches that are considered at least average by scouts.
Thompson has given up just 76 hits over 118.1 innings of play this season. He does walk batters at a somewhat consistent rate, but he doesn’t allow extra base hits often. That means it doesn’t hurt nearly as much to allow an extra runner or too. He was a fourth-round pick by the Boston Red Sox in the MLB Draft a few days ago and is polished enough to see some action at the major league level by the end of the year.
Cal State Fullerton can bring any of three starters to the bump on Saturday. The likely choice seems to be Connor Seabold though. Seabold pitched the opening game of the series against Long Beach State in the Super Regional. He got the loss, but didn’t pitch poorly in 5 1/3 innings of action.
Seabold is averaging almost a strikeout an inning over the season and has been a workhorse. He has thrown three complete games and might be asked to go the distance here if he is pitching well. The major concern for him are the extra base hits he allows, 35 thus far.
If Seabold doesn’t get the start, either John Gavin or Colton Eastman will get the ball.
Hitters to Watch
The two big sticks for the Beavers are Nick Madrigal and KJ Harrison. Madrigal has an OPS of .992 and is tops on the team among the regular starters in terms of on base percentage and slugging percentage. Additionally, he is the team’s stolen base leader and has an 80 percent success rate with his steals.
Harrison is the team’s biggest power threat, but has one of the lowest OBP’s on Oregon State. He leads the team in home runs with eight on the season.
CSU Fullerton has relied on its offense throughout the season, particularly Scott Hurst. Hurst is tops on the team in virtually every major category hitting-wise and the Beavers pitching staff might not want to deal with him. He has an OPS of 1.029 this season, almost 200 points better than any other starter and can rock an opposing pitcher.
Dillon Persinger is one of those guys that does the little things. He leads the team in stolen bases on the season with 18, but also isn’t afraid to take a pitch. He has been plunked by opposing pitchers 13 times this season, one of the highest totals in college baseball.
College World Series ATS Pick
It’s really difficult to go against Oregon State, but if any team is going to have the formula to knock off the overall No. 1 seed, it’s Cal State Fullerton. The Titans have a big bat who can mash and know how to deal with the pressure after winning a best-of-three over Long Beach State on the road after dropping the first game. They will be a sizeable underdog in the CWS opener and are worth a stab at the price.
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