CWS championship series: Scouting Oregon State

Nick Madrigal, right, is the heart and soul of Oregon State. Adley Rutschman, left, is batting .307 in the CWS with 10 RBIs in five games.

Oregon State has one of the best lineups in the country, with all but two of its starters batting .300 or better. Nick Madrigal was picked fourth overall in the MLB draft and provides a sense of calm and leadership when the team needs it.  The main problem in dealing with Oregon State is what comes after Madrigal in the lineup. Behind him is Trevor Larnach, who bats .344 and has 18 homers. He’s second on the team with 75 RBIs. Following Larnach is Adley Rutschman, who is hitting .529 in the CWS with 10 RBIs in five games. The Beavers have three pitchers with ERAs under 3.00: Jake Mulholland, Brandon Eisert and Luke Heimlich. The two aces are Heimlich and Bryce Fehmel. Oregon State is the first team in five years to reach the CWS finals after losing its opening game, winning four straight elimination games. Because of that, the Beavers come into the matchup with Arkansas with question marks in the bullpen. Meanwhile, Arkansas is fully rested after winning all three of its CWS games.

Hitter to watch: Nick Madrigal

He’s batting .385 in Omaha, below his .395 average. Should Madrigal get going even more, this lineup could become even harder to deal with.

Pitcher to watch: Kevin Abel

The freshman is the only Oregon State starter to be productive in Omaha. Abel pitched seven innings against Mississippi State, giving up three hits and one earned run and striking out five.

Key number: 28

Oregon State has scored 48 runs at the CWS. Of those, 28 have come with two outs. That’s the most by any team at the CWS since 1999. For context, in OSU’s CWS appearance in 2005, it didn’t score at all with two outs. This, more than anything, shows how deadly this Oregon State lineup is, and how hard it is to put away once it starts rolling.

Oregon State will win if ...

The pitching can keep Arkansas at bay. As coach Pat Casey said, the Beavers did not one quality start all CWS  before Saturday. If they get another, the Beavers’ power-hitting lineup could lead them to victory.

Chris Heady covers Husker football and is the Nebraska men's basketball beat writer. He started at The World-Herald in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @heady_chris. Email:

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