Tuesday night’s performance in a 7-6 win over rival Oregon in a nonconference Civil War matchup was not the ideal final tuneup for the challenge that is the Pac-12 baseball season.
The Beavers doled out 10 walks, tossed five wild pitches, committed two errors and came up with just five hits.
But they won.
“We know what we need to work on,” said shortstop Beau Philip, who had two hits and drove in two runs. “We have all week to practice so I think lets get at it and get ready for this weekend.”
For reigning national champion and No. 3 Oregon State (13-1-1), that means a trip to No. 2 UCLA (11-3). While it could seem like, and is, a chance for the Beavers to see where they stand, it’s no different than any other Pac-12 series to interim coach Pat Bailey.
“I don’t think you can look at one weekend and say this is a marker weekend, every weekend is a marker weekend,” he said late Tuesday night. “Our conference is tough, every week. I don’t care who you’re playing, top to bottom every weekend you better show up or you’re going to get beat.”
Arizona State was 15-0 heading into a game Wednesday and nine of the 11 teams will have an above .500 record entering conference play.
“I expect every weekend, again like every year, every weekend to be an absolute war no matter who you’re playing,” he said. “Our conference is solid. We’ve got three teams in the top five in most of the polls (12-3 Stanford is No. 4). … We obviously have a lot of talented teams.”
The Beavers, who may or may not have sophomore pitcher Kevin Abel available for the series — Bailey said he was "day to day" Tuesday night — know they must play better than what they did on Tuesday.
“We need to be sharp because we’re not hitting well enough that we can’t be sharp on the mound and can’t be sharp (in the field),” Bailey said. “We’ve got to defend and we’ve got to pitch.”
While the bullpen had some issues on Tuesday, it has been a strength so far.
“I think the bullpen’s been outstanding, everyone gets called in the game and everyone’s done their part,” said Christian Chamberlain, who picked up the win Tuesday with 2 ⅔ innings of relief. “(Tuesday) was a little hiccup but I’m fully confident we will go back to how it was before.”
The Beavers, who hard batting just .269, will look to get their bats back on track against a tough UCLA pitching staff.
“We keep playing guys and giving guys an opportunity, I don’t know what’s going on with some of our guys that have produced in the past and aren’t hitting right now,” Bailey said. “We’ve talked to them and told them just to focus on the present and not focus on your past at-bats or what you’re hitting, just focus on trying to help our team out.”
While the conference slate will be challenging, the Beavers know where the focus needs to be to once again challenge for a title.
“Pac-12 is always a strong conference but this year more than others,” Chamberlain said. “It doesn’t matter who you play but how we play and if we play our style of baseball we’ll get the win.”