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SUPER REGIONAL PREVIEW: MICHIGAN AT OREGON STATE
June 7, 2007

SCS.comMICHIGAN AT OREGON STATE

THE MATCHUP

After beating #1 Vanderbilt in what might be one of the greatest upsets in college baseball history, Michigan will look to carry their momentum into the house of the defending national champions, Oregon State. To get to Corvallis for this Super Regional, Michigan went into extra innings on Monday night with the Commodores and won after freshman Alan Oaks hit a homerun off of All-American and likely #1 pick David Price. The Oregon State Beavers needed a rain-delayed Tuesday game to win the Virginia regional and did it like they did in the College World Series last year as they won all of their elimination games. In this Super Regional, there are many storylines. Can Michigan be the first Big Ten school that advances to Omaha since they last did it in 1984? Can Pat Caseyís Oregon State Beavers get to the College World Series for the third straight year with a chance to win it again? A lot will be on the line this weekend in Corvallis, Oregon.

THE VENUE

Goss Stadium at Coleman Field will be the host of the Super Regional between Michigan and Oregon State. Last year, Oregon State won the Super Regional at Goss and advanced to Omaha to win the National Championship. The current capacity of the Beaversí home diamond is 2300, and before the start of this season, a FieldTurf infield was installed. As Oregon Stateís program has gotten to the level where it stands right now, upgrades have been occurring all around.

BREAKING IT DOWN

Starting Pitching
Both Michigan and Oregon State have solid starting pitching staffs. For UM, the starting pitching in the Vanderbilt regional was excellent. Mike Wilson and Chris Fetter both threw gems against the Commodores, and in each game, the Wolverines came out on top. Wilson (7-0, 3.00 ERA), Andrew Hess (7-1, 3.76 ERA), and two-way player Zach Putnam (7-4, 3.78 ERA) will most likely be the starting trio for Michigan this weekend. Fetter (6-3, 4.71 ERA) could start one of the three after he threw a great game against Vanderbilt Monday night. Pat Caseyís Oregon State pitching staff fared well in the Virginia regional. For the Beavers, experience is the word for the pitching staff. The trio of Daniel Turpen (9-1, 3.65 ERA), Joe Paterson (9-6, 3.81 ERA), and Mike Stutes (9-4, 4.05 ERA) will be key for the Beavers this weekend. Although Oregon Stateís pitching staff has the experience and the postseason success, Michiganís starters were exceptional in their regional victory last weekend.
Advantage: Even
Hitting
While Michiganís lineup hits a healthy clip of .336, the Beaver lineup, which hits at .286, finds ways to thrive due to its knack of timely hitting. The Wolverines lineup has a flux of hitters that hit for a good average. Michiganís better hitters - Derek Vanbuskirk (.398), Kevin Cislo (.375), Nate Recknagel (.360), Zach Putnam (.355), and Jason Christian (.329) - were key in their regional series victory over Vanderbilt. Recknagel (11 HRís) and Putnam (8 HRís) provide the pop in the Michigan lineup. For Oregon State, their lineup is described as "scrappy." Mike Lissman (.327, 8 HRís), Jordan Lennerton (.325, 7 HRís), Mitch Canham (.323, 9 HRís), and Darwin Barney (.296, 4 HRís) help lead the Beaver offense. After seeing how the Michigan batters fared against an exceptional Vanderbilt pitching staff last weekend, Iíll give them the nod over the Beavers.
Advantage: Michigan
Out of the Pen
The bullpens for these two teams did very well in the regionals last weekend, as both kept their team in each ballgame. For Michigan, the top arms out of the pen are Adam Abraham (2.97 ERA), Ben Jenzen (4.54 ERA, 5 SV) and Michael Powers (5.12 ERA, 3 SV). Abraham is also the Wolverines third baseman and has done well this year offensively as well as on the mound. Oregon Stateís bullpen is one of the better in the Pac 10, and possibly in college baseball. The closer, Eddie Kunz (3.05 ERA, 10 SV), along with Mark Grbavac (2.35 ERA) and Anton Maxwell (2.42 ERA), are the Beaversí best relievers. Due to the fact that Oregon State has an exceptional closer along with two other solid relief pitchers, they have a clear advantage over Michigan out of the pen.
Advantage: Oregon State
Coaching
In this Super Regional, a coach who led his team to the national title last year, Pat Casey of Oregon State, and a coach who helped pull off the upset victory against #1 Vanderbilt last weekend in the regionals, Rich Maloney of Michigan, will meet head-to-head. Casey led the 2006 Beavers to the national championship in Omaha and has the postseason success and experience. Maloneyís Michigan team beat the #1 national seed twice last week, and it was his decision to put in a freshman who hasnít seen much playing time against the best pitcher in college baseball, and that's the reason the Wolverines are still playing. That said, Pat Casey is considered one of the best coaches in college baseball and helped lead his squad to a title last year.
Advantage: Oregon State
Intangibles
While one could argue that Oregon State should be the clear choice in this category, remember it was Michigan that got all of the big hits and pitched well enough to beat the best team in the country in the regionals. Michiganís pitching held down a great Vandy lineup twice last week, and the bats were hot too. Iíd say hitting a homerun off the best pitcher in the nation and robbing a tying homerun in extra innings shows intangibles. Oregon State has the experience in the postseason, and that showed last week in the Virginia regional. The Beavers also come up with timely hits and pitch well enough to win ballgames.
Advantage: Even

FINAL THOUGHTS

This Super Regional pits two teams who werenít given much of a chance last week in the regionals. Michigan beat #1 Vandy twice to win that regional, while Oregon State won crucial elimination games to beat a team that was considered to be the best one seed that wasnít a national seed. Both Michigan and Oregon State played exceptional baseball last weekend, hitting the ball well, pitching effectively, and playing solid defense.
Michigan knows what itís like to play in a hostile environment after beating Vanderbilt in Nashville. Oregon State obviously has been there before after they won the title in Omaha last year. If UM carries their momentum from Nashville into Corvallis, they have a great shot of advancing to Omaha, but the experience and postseason success that the Oregon State program has had makes them the favorite to return to Omaha for the third straight year.

PREDICTION TIME

Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
Michigan Oregon State Oregon State
U.S.A.
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