College Preview Capsules: No. 5 Oregon State

No. 5 Oregon Stateoregonstate
2015 Record (Ranking): 39-18 (NR). RPI: 40.
Coach (Record at school): Pat Casey (754-421-5, 21 years).
Postseason History: 16 regionals (active streak: 7), 5 CWS trips (last in 2013), 2 national titles (last in 2007).

Oregon State could have had a down year in 2015 and few would’ve blamed the Beavers for it.

After all, the draft stripped the 2014 Pac-12 Conference champions of much of their veteran talent, claiming outfielders Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis as well as weekend rotation stalwarts Ben Wetzler and Jace Fry, among others.

2016 Lineup
C Logan Ice, Jr. .276 .362 .431 3 22 0
1B K.J. Harrison, So. .309  .401 .527 10 60 1
2B Cadyn Grenier, Fr. HS—Henderson, Nev.
3B Nick Madrigal, Fr. HS—Elk Grove, Calif.
SS Trever Morrison, Jr. .317  .412 .400 1 18 2
LF Kyle Nobach, Jr. .317 .377 .447 2 27 8
CF Elliott Cary, So. .258 .343 .323 1 13 1
RF Trevor Larnach, Fr. HS—Pleasant Hill, Calif.
DH Billy King, Jr. .272 .336 .359 0 21 2
Pos. Name, Yr. W L ERA IP SO SV
RHP Drew Rasmussen, So. 7 4 2.80 106 82 0
RHP Travis Eckert, Sr. 6 2 4.08 90 50 0
LHP Luke Heimlich, So. 2 5 3.61 52 35 0
RP Mitch Hickey, So. 4 1 2.28 28 21 11

As a result, the 2015 Beavers were exceptionally young, yet they were also precociously talented. They caught fire near the end of last season and—despite their significant roster losses—earned an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

“I think those guys really overachieved last year,” coach Pat Casey said. “I think we really lost a lot . . . We really took a hit.

“Guys like K.J. Harrison and Drew Rasmussen, those guys really stepped up and really, really overachieved, so we felt really good about what we did throughout the year.”

Harrison and Rasmussen, both freshmen, produced right away for Oregon State, providing a tremendous lift on both sides of the ball. Harrison supplied a team-leading 10 home runs as the Beavers first baseman. He also figures to see time at catcher and potentially third base this season, Casey said. Rasmussen, meanwhile, threw the first perfect game in program history, against Washington State, and the righthander formed a potent combination with Andrew Moore at the top of the rotation.

Both Harrison and Rasmussen will be expected to lead this season, especially Rasmussen, who will take over Friday night duties for Moore, whom the Mariners drafted 72nd overall.

Senior righthander Travis Eckert will slot into the Saturday role, while Sunday is up for grabs between sophomore lefthander Luke Heimlich and junior righthander Jake Thompson, who missed most of last season with a back injury. Talented freshman lefthanders Jordan Britton and Eric Parnow could work their way into the mix, as well.

“I think the key to our club is we’ve got to stay healthy on the mound,” Casey said. “And we have to make sure that somebody—I don’t think we have a lot of big names on the pitching staff—so somebody’s going to have to step up and really get it done and surprise us a little bit, kind of like how Drew Rasmussen did last year.”

Offensively, the Beavers lose center fielder Jeff Hendrix to the draft but return Harrison, starting shortstop Trever Morrison, catcher Logan Ice and outfielders Kyle Nobach and Elliott Cary. They also bring in shortstops Cadyn Grenier and Nick Madrigal—Nos. 123 and 180 on the BA 500—and both are expected to start.

Madrigal and Grenier highlighted Oregon State’s 12th-ranked recruiting class and bring dynamic athleticism and playmaking ability to both sides of the ball. Madrigal is listed at 5-foot-8, 155 pounds, but provides energy and intangibles to go with above-average tools. Grenier is physically more mature and brings more power potential. Where they play, Casey said, is still to be determined. Morrison, Grenier and Madrigal will likely play all over the infield.

“They’re going to show people that they can play more than one position, which is going to be a feather in their cap down the road,” Casey said. “They provide the one thing we’ve been lacking the last four or five years. And that’s depth.”

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