Oregon State fans are getting awfully cocky, and I must admit, I don’t mind. It strikes me as funny that after I omitted the Beavers from my “Eight for ’08″ College World Series predictions, I have been bombarded with e-mails telling me, “Haven’t you learned better than to bet against the Beavers by now?” I think it’s great–it’s a reflection of how far this program has come that its fans simply expect to be in Omaha every year. And I think the Beavers will be very competitive again in 2008, but I think it would be a mistake to overlook how difficult it will be to replace Mitch Canham and Darwin Barney, the heart and soul of three CWS teams over the last three years. Come 2009, though, you’ve got to think the Beavers will be in great shape to play for another national championship, thanks to an elite recruiting class that could include impact pitchers such as Greg Peavey, Tanner Robles and maybe even first-rounder Tim Alderson.
Much of the credit for OSU’s strong foundation must go to longtime pitching coach/recruiting coordinator Dan Spencer, who left the Beavers today to accept an associate head coaching position at his alma mater, Texas Tech.
“It’s funny how things happen and how life works,” Spencer said. “I feel like I’ve come full circle here. I’ve only worn two Division I baseball uniforms in my life–one was here at Texas Tech and the other was at Oregon State.”
Spencer and another former Red Raiders player, Trent Petrie, were hired as assistants by Larry Hays. Petrie has spent the last two years as an assistant at New Mexico.
Landing Spencer, one of the nation’s top recruiters and most highly regarded pitching coaches, was a coup for Texas Tech, and a blow to Oregon State. But the long-term foundation in Corvallis has already been cemented, and the Beavers should be fine even without Spencer. And if one or more of the pitching core of Mike Stutes, Daniel Turpen and Joe Paterson returns, OSU might indeed make another run to Omaha as soon as 2008.
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