The Oregon State University baseball team finished with a 56-6 record and was just one win shy of a trip to the College World Series finals. The Beavers set a record with a 27-3 Pac-12 mark — OSU won the league by a ridiculous six games.
Digging a bit deeper I decided to look at how OSU’s overall baseball success in the past decade or so compares with other college powers. I started with 2005, because that was the first year the Beavers played in Omaha since 1952. Yes, that date is arbitrary, but you have to start somewhere, right?
In those 13 seasons, all under coach Pat Casey, the Beavers have been to the CWS five times and have won twice (2006, 2007). No one else has had that combination of participation and success. South Carolina is the only other school to have won twice in that span. North Carolina has been to Omaha 6 times but has not won a title. Ditto for Cal State Fullerton and TCU and their 5 appearances apiece.
Two asterisks must be added, obviously. Florida and LSU started the best of 3 championship series in Monday. This is Florida’s 7th appearance at the CWS in those 13 years, but the Gators have not won. LSU, meanwhile, is in Omaha for the fifth time since 2005, with 1 title in that stretch. An LSU win would match OSU’s record. A Gators win means 1 title with 7 appearances. Either outcome puts the winner in OSU’s league … but right now it’s an awfully small group.
Some other odds and ends on OSU baseball and the CWS:
• The Pac-12 continues to lead in CWS wins with 17 titles, with 12 of them by USC — and all before the turn of the century. ASU has 5 titles, Arizona 4 and Stanford 2. The Southeastern Conference is second with 10 titles. Please note that the bulk of the ASU and Zona titles came before they turned the Pac-8 into the Pac-10 in 1978.
• USC (74), ASU (61), Arizona (43) and Stanford (40), are all in the top six in CWS wins. Texas leads with 85. Miami is fourth with 48. OSU now has 15.
• The SEC, however, leads overwhelmingly in terms of getting multiple teams in the CWS. The league has placed 3 or 4 a total of 9 times, including 3 times with 4 participants. The Big 12 has had 3 teams a total of 3 times, with the ACC getting 4 once and 3 once. The then-Pac-10 placed 3 teams in 1988.
• The Beavers kept breaking single-game attendance records throughout this season, culminating with a pair of Goss Stadium crowds above 3,700 for the super regional vs. Vanderbilt. That said, the Beavers and the Pac-12 are way down the attendance list on a national basis. The SEC had the top six schools in the nation in average attendance, led by LSU at 10,725. Ole Miss was second (8,545), Mississippi State was third (8,029), Arkansas was fourth (7,616), South Carolina was fifth (7,178) and Texas A&M was sixth (5,013).
The league, which has boasted the national attendance leader the past 16 seasons, drew 150,000 for its conference tournament. The Pac-12, as well as the rest of the country, is playing from behind on this one.