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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball heads to Corvallis to play No. 22 Oregon State

Amelia McAnear

The Arizona baseball team, who sits at 23-15 (9-12 in Pac-12 play), will travel to Corvallis, Oregon, to face off against No. 22 Oregon State University, who sits at 27-13 (11-10 in Pac-12 play). The first game of the three-game series starts on Friday, April 28, at 7 p.m.

Arizona heads to Oregon riding a six-game winning streak where they have outscored opponents 87-32. Arizona has been playing some of their best baseball of the season.

“We feel good about our offense,” Arizona head coach Chip Hale said following Arizona’s win over the University of Utah. “We feel like we have one of the better offenses in the country.”

Arizona’s offense leads the Pac-12 in team batting average at .325 and ranks sixth in the country. However, the Wildcats know their trip to Corvallis won’t be easy, as Oregon State is one of the better programs in the nation. Additionally, the Beavers have a great pitching staff that ranks ninth in overall team ERA at 3.69. This sets up for a heated duel between one of the nation’s top offenses in the Wildcats and one of the nation’s top pitching groups in the Beavers.

In the month of April, Oregon State went 11-4, with wins over the current No. 23 University of Oregon, No. 17 ASU and USC. Last weekend, the Beavers traveled to Phoenix to play a three-game series with ASU. They won the first game before dropping the final two games of the series. An 11-point victory on Monday, April 24, over Grand Canyon University concluded the Beavers’ four-game road trip to the Phoenix area.

The Beaver offense has five players who have four or more home runs and have a batting average over .290: Travis Bazzana (4 HR, .372), Micah McDowell (4 HR, .338), Garret Forrester (7 HR, .310), Mason Guerra (5 HR, .298) and Brady Kasper (7 HR, .291).

Bazzana is the star of the offense, leading the team in hits (54), runs (48), doubles (13), triples (3), OPS (1.099), stolen bases (24), RBI (32), slugging (.586), walks (41) and OBP (.513). Forrester ranks second in several categories behind Bazzana including hits (45), RBI (30), walks (38) and runs (32). McDowell ranks second in a few categories as well including hits (45), doubles (10), stolen bases (10) and slugging (.504).

On the pitching side, the Beaver rotation is led by Jacob Kmatz, Trent Sellers and Jaren Hunter. Both Sellers and Kmatz have started 10 games while Hunter has only started seven. Through 10 games, Sellers has a record of 6-3 with an ERA of 4.25 and a WHIP of 1.44, while Kmatz has a record of 2-4 with an ERA of 3.81 and a WHIP of 1.27. Through seven starts, Hunter has a record of 1-1 with an ERA of 3.03 and a WHIP of 1.01. Unfortunately for the Beavers, Hunter has not pitched in over 10 days since he departed early during his last start against USC on April 16 due to tightness in his throwing arm.

The Beaver bullpen has been strong all season, they are led by AJ Hutcheson, Ian Lawson, and closer Ryan Brown. Hutcheson, Brown and Lawson have all made 14 or more appearances this season. Hutcheson has an ERA of 2.14 and a WHIP of 1.05, while Lawson has an ERA of 2.67 and a WHIP of 0.96. Brown has eight saves this season, an ERA of 2.25 and a team-leading WHIP of 0.70.

If the Wildcats can play the same baseball they have played throughout their winning streak, then this weekend’s matchup should be interesting.

“It’ll be a battle,” Hale said. “Both teams need to win.”

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