Corvallis Super Regional Preview
Coach: Pat Casey
Postseason history: Seventh super regional appearance (second straight). Seeking seventh trip to Omaha and second straight.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Corvallis Regional. Went 3-0, beating Louisiana State 12-0 in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Beavers)
“It’s a relentless offense in that they have a little bit of everything. They have guys who can run the ball out of the yard but don’t try to. They can really run in certain areas. Their one-two-three can run as well as anybody when you look at Steven Kwan, Cadyn Grenier and Nick Madrigal. So, they have a lot of different types of hits they can get. They’re unbelievably patient at the plate. They take very mature at-bats, and you’re talking about a team, when you look up and down that lineup, it’s guys who have been starting for three years. They all have over 600 at-bats in college, and they all kind of embrace who they are.
“Kwan is an on-base machine, it’s like, 48 walks to 14 strikeouts this year, and he’s the tablesetter, and he bunts for hits, to either side. And Madrigal, to me, if there’s a better player in the country, I haven’t seen him. And then you get through that, and then it’s (Adley) Rutschman and (Trevor) Larnach in the four and five, so pick your poison. And either one of those guys can run the ball of the yard, and obviously Larnach has had a monster year with the homers.
“What makes them really, really good I think is that you think about those five guys. They all went in the first five rounds. And that’s four guys that are first-rounders, because Rutschman is a no-doubt first-rounder next year. But then right after them, Michael Gretler is in there and he’s a senior who’s started for three years, a physical body who’s athletic at third, and he can go yard. And then a guy like Kyle Nobach, who’s been there for what seems like 30 years, and now he’s performing. And Zak Taylor is a physical first baseman who takes a hack in the nine-hole and just looks to turn the lineup over.
“On the mound, obviously, Luke Heimlich is a big arm with plus command to both sides of the plate. If the strike zone is a lower strike zone and he’s peppering his fastball down, his slider becomes a wipeout pitch. He’s all about the fastball and his fastball command. And he’s just been a massive performer for two years for them. And they have a nice balance, because then you get to Bryce Fehmel who’s going to be 88 mph with a breaking ball and a change and pitchability and a ton of strikes and can pitch backwards.
“Their weakness right now is figuring out who’s going to be that Sunday guy, that third starter. And if Kevin Abel steps forward like he did last Sunday, then I like their chances all the way through. Jake Mulholland has been excellent out of the pen, Brandon Eisert has been great out of the pen. They like to bring in that (Dylan) Pearce kid, who has a good arm.
“And they have a few other good arms, but the pitchability with those guys isn’t quite as good as with those other guys. They’ll make more mistakes, and if you’re ready to hit then I think those are the spots where you can do some things.
“But you can’t put them on base when they’re on offense because they find ways to score. You’ve got to make them hit and attack the strike zone with multiple pitches. You have to pitch a lot of different types of ways. You have to change you approach every time up. But I don’t think there’s one way to pitch each guy. And when you’re on offense, you’ve gotta scrap for some things, and if you have an opportunity, you have to take advantage, because they don’t give up runs late.”
Coach: John Anderson
Postseason history: First super regional appearance. Seeking sixth trip to Omaha and first since 1977.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Minneapolis Regional. Went 3-0, defeating UCLA 13-8 in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Golden Gophers)
“It’s the same (stuff) that stands out about them every year late. I’ve always said I don’t like playing Minnesota late in the year because they always continue to get better. They’re always fundamentally very sound and you cannot strike them out and that’s what makes them so hard to play against. They will grind at-bats and foul pitches off. Even if you do strike them out, you’re going to have to throw eight or nine pitches to do it. The next thing you know you’re in your ‘pen pretty early.
“Those top three guys are the three that make them go and they are as good as anybody that we faced all year long. (Terrin) Vavra has had an unbelievable year, (Luke) Pettersen has been lights out and (Ben) Mezzenga the same way. All three of them run extremely well. They’re all threats to steal, they’re all threats to bunt for a base hit.
“(Patrick Fredrickson is) the real deal, man. He’s just really, really good. It’s not 98 mph, but he pitches and he competes his tail off. He has three pitches for strikes, he’ll throw backwards in counts. Not afraid to get in, not afraid to use his changeup any time ahead or behind, holds running game well. Again, very fundamentally sound all the way around. The scary thing for us is that kid is just going to continue to get better.
“(Max) Meyer has the good velocity. The fastball is what it is but we saw cutter after cutter after cutter. The report said hunt the fastball and we never got one because he just kept hammering us with that cutter. That’s as good a pitch as we’d seen really all year long. The other guys out of the ‘pen, (Brett) Schulze was 90-92 and just competed his tail off like the rest of them do to get to Meyer. Jackson Rose really good (Sunday). That’s more velocity than the rest of them have. He’s up to 93 with a good slide. All those guys.
“It’s as complete of a team as I’ve seen in the league since I’ve been in it, save for Indiana when they got to Omaha. And that team, top to bottom, maybe had a little bit more talent, you could say, with (Kyle) Schwarber and (Sam) Travis and those guys who are going to have big careers in pro ball. But this one, I think is more fundamentally sound. It seems like it’s built for the long haul.
“I’d be surprised if (being in their first super regional) bothered them. You’ve got the leadership there in the middle of the field with those guys that are really, really good players. I think they play like a John Anderson team plays. There’s no BS to them, there’s no bush league stuff, it’s just about them in their mind and going out and playing and playing the right way. They’ve got the older guys to lean on and the younger guys on the mound are good enough that I don’t think that would be a problem. If they get beat by Oregon State, it’s not because they gave it to them. I think Oregon State is going to have to be better.”