Scouting the College World Series Corvallis regional

By Joey Kamm | Posted on, 11:40 a.m.
Pitcher Scott Politz ’19 will start for the Bulldogs on Friday against Nebraska's Jake Meyers. (Yale Athletics)

As the Yale baseball team prepares to compete in its first NCAA Tournament game in over two decades, here’s a primer on the Bulldogs as well as the three other teams in the Corvallis regional: Oregon State, Nebraska and Holy Cross. The four schools will play a double-elimination tournament for a spot in the super regionals on the line.

Regional schedule 
  • Friday, June 2 (all times Eastern)
    • Game 1: 4 p.m. – No. 3 Yale vs. No. 2 Nebraska (ESPN3)
    • Game 2: 11 p.m. – No. 4 Holy Cross vs. No. 1 Oregon State (ESPNU)
  • Saturday, June 3 
    • Game 3: 4 p.m. – Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser (ESPN3)
    • Game 4: 10 p.m. – Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (ESPN3)
  • Sunday, June 4
    • Game 5: 4 p.m. – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser (ESPN3)
    • Game 6: 10 p.m. – Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner (ESPN3)
  • Monday, June 5 (if necessary)
    • Game 7: 11 p.m. – Game 6 rematch (ESPN3)

No. 1 Seed Oregon State (Pac–12 Conference)

  • Overall Record: 49–4 (Home, 25–1)
  • Conference: 27–3
  • Vs. Top 100 RPI: 30–2
  • RPI: 1
  • SOS: 76
  • Biggest Wins: Indiana (x2), Nebraska (x2), Arizona (x3), Stanford (x3), UCLA (x2)

After getting snubbed from the 2016 tournament, the Beavers claimed the No. 1 National Seed in 2017 and look to return to the College World Series for the first time since 2013. The Pac-12 regular-season champions currently enjoy a 15-game winning streak and lead the country in both ERA and WHIP. Oregon State has all the looks of a team that could be playing in Omaha in June and may be the deepest squad Pat Casey has ever coached during his 23 seasons at the helm in Corvallis, which include national-title teams in both 2006 and 2007. Add in the fact that the Beavers are playing in the friendly confines of Goss Stadium at Coleman Field and this team seems unstoppable.

Key Player: Pitcher Luke Heimlich. The junior left hander owns a 10–1 record and leads the nation with a 0.81 ERA while holding opponents to a 0.177 batting average.

No. 2 Seed Nebraska (Big Ten Conference)

  • Overall Record: 35–18–1 (Road, 14–6–1)
  • Conference: 16–7–1
  • Vs. Top 100 RPI: 13–10–1
  • RPI: 36
  • SOS: 74
  • Biggest Wins: Arizona, Indiana (x2), Maryland (x2), Iowa

The Cornhuskers are making their third NCAA tournament appearance since 2014 but own an 1–4 record during that span, with their lone victory coming against Binghamton. The Big Ten regular-season champions only lost one weekend series in conference play but finished with a disappointing 1–2 record in the postseason tournament. Former MLB World Series champion and current Big Ten Coach of the Year Darin Erstad is looking to take the next step with a Nebraska baseball program that hasn’t advanced past the regional round since 2005. To do so, the Cornhuskers will have to knock off the No. 1 overall seed, a feat which Big Ten teams accomplished in both 2007 and 2015.

Key Player: Utility player Jake Meyers. The Omaha, native is a finalist for the Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year due to his contributions on both ends of the field. The junior lays claim to a 3.09 ERA and 8–1 record on the hill and is also the starting center fielder on non-pitching days, batting 0.302 with a 0.436 on-base percentage. Although he missed some time in the Big Ten Tournament, expect Meyers to be back in the lineup as he’s the projected starter to go against Yale in Game 1.

No. 3 Seed Yale (Ivy League)

  • Overall Record: 32–16 (Road, 16–12)
  • Conference: 16–4
  • Vs. Top 100 RPI: 0–2
  • RPI: 47
  • SOS: 153
  • Biggest Wins: Holy Cross (x5)

The Bulldogs qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993 — head coach John Stuper’s first season — utilizing a talented lineup laden with sophomore starters. Yale responded to last season’s defeat in the Ivy League Championship series to Princeton with a tremendous 2016–17 campaign in which the Elis blazed to a four-game lead over any other Ancient Eight team by the end of the regular season. The Bulldogs hope their experience playing at Texas A&M and Clemson the past two seasons will pay dividends at Goss Stadium in Corvallis. A series of close defeats to the nationally-ranked Tigers this March proved Yale can match up with one of the top teams in the country, but salvaging multiple wins this weekend is definitely an uphill task for the Blue.

Key Player: Pitcher Scott Politz ’19. The first-team All-Ivy honoree secured the role as Yale’s No. 1 ace during his freshman season and backed it up again with a 10–2 record in 2017. Politz is a competitor who throws the ball across the plate and pounds the zone but can also get a strikeout when he needs one, as the right hander proved with 69 K’s in 83 innings of work this season.

No. 4 Seed Holy Cross (Patriot League)

  • Overall Record: 23–27 (Road, 7–14)
  • Conference: 12–8
  • Vs. Top 100 RPI: 2–8
  • RPI: 219
  • SOS: 218
  • Biggest Win(s): Yale

With a shoddy RPI and an overall losing record, Holy Cross salvaged its season by winning four straight games against Army and Bucknell in the conference tournament to secure the Patriot League’s automatic berth. The Crusaders may have the opportunity to play spoiler versus Nebraska and Yale in potential elimination games, but stand little chance of defeating perennial powerhouse Oregon State in Corvallis.

Key Player: First Baseman Anthony Critelli. One of 10 student-athletes in the nation to be nominated for the Senior CLASS Award, Critelli is tied for first all-time in program history with 52 career doubles and also broke the school record for career home runs in the second game against Yale last weekend. He owns a 0.482 slugging percentage and earned first-team All-Patriot League accolades for the third straight season.