So how good is this year’s Oregon State University baseball team?
Tough to tell today, but the scorching 32-3 start, including a 16-2 Pac-12 Conference record, sent me to the record books, both for national marks and the conference lists.
And it goes without saying … but I will say it anyway … that there is no guarantee that the Beavers will play .914 ball in their final 19 regular-season games – much less the NCAA tournament games that will follow.
But if they do finish the regular season at .914, that means OSU will take a 49-5 record into the postseason. And if the Beavers match their current .888 clip in conference play that means finishing with a 26-4 league record.
The good news, well, despite the fact that playing .914 ball is absurdly good news already, is that the Beavers do not have to leave the state for those final 19 games – and likely whatever NCAA games -- short of the CWS -- in which they participate. They have home Pac-12 series against USC, California and Washington State and a road set 40 miles away at Oregon. They also have a pair of home non-conference games against the Ducks and a non-league encounter with the University of Portland at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.
More good news? USC (5-10), WSU (4-11) and the Ducks (6-9) are all under .500 in league. Only Cal at 11-7 is a first-division club at this point.
More good news? The Beavers close the regular season with a four-game home set against Abilene Christian, which is 11-25 overall, 2-19 in the Southland Conference and 1-10 on the road.
So Pat Casey can do a lot of tinkering with his rotation and rest folks if he needs to in that final week.
But he also might be heading toward history.
Since the conference expanded to 12 teams the best record is the 24-6 mark that the Beavers turned in in 2012. During the Pac-10 period Arizona State rang up a 26-4 league record on the way to the 1981 College World Series title. OSU would have to close 10-2 to match that mark.
Even earlier, USC went 17-0 in league on the way to the 1972 College World Series title and its 1968 national champs were 16-2-1.
Speaking of the College World Series the fewest losses by a CWS champion in the modern era is the 1975 Texas team (56-6), followed by the 1965 Arizona State team (54-8) and the 1995 Cal State Fullerton squad (57-9). Numerous teams pre-1965 had single-digit losses, but none of those squads played more than 45 games. For example USC won the 1958 title with a 28-3 record and Holly Cross won in 1952 at 21-3.
How many losses will the Beavers have come late June?
This could be an historic run, folks.