I was hoping it would come to this.
Early this baseball season, people were talking about how good both Oregon State and Oregon would be in 2013.
While looking at the hot starts for both the Ducks and Beavers, fans would cast one eye on the schedule and see the series between the teams May 17-19 at PK Park. The question that usually went unspoken was ... would a Pac-12 Championship be on the line? Could both teams make the World Series?
Until now, those thoughts were followed by a lot of eye blinking and cobweb-clearing head shakes.
The question can be asked now.
The answer is “yes” to both questions.
But, believe it or not, there is actually more on the line than the league title.
Both Oregon schools are just about guaranteed to host NCAA Regionals in two weeks and both teams have a shot at receiving a national seed from the NCAA.
If one team sweeps (and the home team has swept the last three Civil War series), it may knock the loser out of contention for one of the top eight positions in the bracket.
Imagine for a moment if Eugene and Corvallis both hosted Super Regionals.
It could happen. No head shaking required.
But first, this Civil War will send two such equally balanced teams against one another; it is impossible to predict the winner.
If someone claims one team has an advantage over the other … they are just trying to sound smart.
Those of us of average intelligence look at the Ducks and Beavers and have to admit that neither team has a distinct advantage.
You might give the Beavers the edge in starting pitching (a team ERA of 2.06 is second in the nation while Oregon is second in the Pac-12 at 2.58), but Oregon’s bullpen is slightly better (24 saves vs. 17 with Jimmy Sherfy now up to 19).
Oregon’s defense has been better this season (41 errors to 57) but OSU has turned 51 double plays to Oregon’s 39.
OSU catchers have allowed a league low 19 stolen bases to the Ducks’ 29, but Oregon has only 7 passed balls to the Beavers’ 14.
Power numbers? Ironically, Oregon has more home runs (21 to 18). However, OSU has a better batting average (.286 to .264), slugging percentage (.379 to .366) and on base percentage (.379 to .352) and in turn, has scored more runs (282 to 269).
Inside game? Both are terrific with small ball. Coaching? You could give Pat Casey the edge based on two World Series titles to George Horton’s one, but they are both on the verge of college baseball geniuses.
This series will come down to something amazing, thrilling and probably clutch. We will see moments we won’t forget and experience a roller-coaster weekend that will be terrific for baseball in our state.
Best of all … the Beavers and Ducks could play again in about a month with much, much more on the line.