An OP Original OSU v UCSB - Game 1 CWS

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SBC presents Mattbob
Oct 16, 2003
Getting to know the Gauchos:

They made it to Omaha in much the same way, we did, by running through the competition, 5-0, this postseason. If there was any doubt about UCSB, coming out of regionals, without seeing the #1 seed (Vanderbilt), they quickly answered those questions vs. Louisville, whom many had as the best team in the country. Honestly, they remind me a lot of us and that's dangerous. They have faciltity problems (no permeant restrooms) but have made the tourney 4 of the last 5 years, including hosting last year (they were forced to host at a minor league facility 180 miles from campus). Coach Checkett of UCSB is considered to be a pitching guru and is rumored with some big open coaching positions.

Game 1 will be carried on ESPN2 at 2 pm.

We will undoubtedly face junior RHP Shane Beiber, drafted in the 4th round by the Indians. Beiber is definitely a control pitcher. He's going to throw his pitches for strikes and where he wants them. 12-3, 2.84 ERA, 103 Ks to only 16 walks. That ratio is good enough for top 10 in the country. He's a fastball - slider guy. Baseball America's scouting report says Bieber, has a clean repeatable delivery. He doesn't have overwhelming stuff, throwing 88-92 mph, but he has good control and command. His off-speed pitches need work. TD Ameritrade Ballpark is set up to be a pitcher's ballpark. Beiber throws strikes and lets a good defense behind him do their job. That's the perfect strategy for Omaha and one that we, too, will use.

Top power hitter is 4 hole DH/1B Austin Bush: .269/.350/.479 with 11 Hrs. Baseball America's anonymous coach scouting says Bush is vulnerable to fastball in, if the velo is up. So, Hatch will need to hit his marks, otherwise, Bush could make it a long day for us. For the record, Bush went OFF for 3 home runs in 3 games in the Nashville regional.

OF Andrew Calica draws a lot of walks at the leadoff spot, OBP of .450, so expect him to make Hatch throw a lot of pitches. Calica was the hitter of the year, last summer in the Cape Cod League, which featured our own Donnie Walton, Calica batted .450 with the wood bats. He correctly describes himself as a very tough out.

Calica, Fisher, & Gradford, at the top of the order, really set the table for Bush. At least statistically, the lineup has struggled after those guys, much the way ours on paper struggles from the middle and bottom. But, any team in Omaha, has shown they can get timely hits to win.

In the late innings, they will turn the ball over to the established closer, LHP Kyle Nelson, 32 appearances, 7-2 record with 9 saves. 2.02 ERA with opponents batting just .199 against Nelson. In 71.1 inning pitched, he has 85 strikeouts to just 17 walks. So just like against Beiber, you have to earn it with Nelson. He had a streak of 49 consecutive innings of not allowing an earned run that extended from last season into this season. You don't do that without big time stuff. Nelson was a Freshman AA last season and this season was on the watch list for National Pitcher of the Year.

If we get to Beiber, early, (though he tends to work very deep into games), they might also use LHP Justin Kelly, 10 appearances, 20.2 IP, with 33 Ks, 3.05 ERA.

Their top pinch hitter is Sam Cohen freshman (backup catcher, like Collin Simpson), who hit the grand slam to eliminate Louisville.

Josh Holiday likes to describe the postseason as a series of 1 game tournaments. For 1 game, UCSB definitely has the talent to test and beat us. In a lot of ways, it will be like looking into a mirror.

You can discuss the article here.