Editor's note: No one knows the super regional teams better than their opponents. Will Kimmey talked to college coaches who had faced multiple teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament and offered them anonymity in exchange for their candor.
Corvallis Super Regional
At Goss Stadium at Coleman Field (all times Eastern)
Saturday, June 10
Game 1 -- Oregon State 4, Stanford 3
Sunday, June 11
Game 2 -- Oregon State 15, Stanford 0
Oregon State (44-14) advances to the College World Series.
How They Got Here: Won the Austin Regional in three games
CWS History: Fifteen trips to Omaha, last in 2003; two championships, last in 1988
Coach: Mark Marquess (30th season)
Scouting the Cardinal: "More than anything, they're just Stanford. In regionals and super regionals, it's ho-hum, let's play. They play within themselves. I can definitely see them getting out of the Corvallis Super Regional if they play like they can play, up to their potential. The Cardinal have talent. After making a bunch of lineup and rotation changes over the year, now they feel pretty good with guys they have plugged into certain spots. Stanford is absolutely a different team now than early on -- and they've got that witch doctor in the dugout. Mark Marquess will give you fits.
"Offensively, they weren't going real good when we played them, but the potential was there. They have big physical guys in the lineup. [John] Hester can be a really good hitter, [Jim] Rapoport [.249 AVG/.310 OBP/.340 SLG] had a bad year, but he caused havoc on bases. One guy that destroyed us was [Chris] Minaker. He was awesome. He's a spark plug, the team goes with him.
"That offense is real tough right now, they got hot at the right time. The Cardinal knocked Texas and NC State around. Minaker is really good, spraying to all fields and making adjustments. He's a senior and was by far the best hitter. [Michael] Taylor played really well. [Chris] Lewis had a good series. They had a good approach and good execution of the situational stuff like getting bunts down and running the bases. Stanford really takes advantage of mistakes by pitchers. You've got to get ahead. Pitch backwards some and hit with your breaking ball. You can pitch to Lewis, he can spin off the ball. Minaker is the most dangerous, he'll make adjustments and attack. Pitch him different throughout the game."
Greg Reynolds has as much stuff as anyone we've faced this year. He cruised for five innings before we got to him late. Beating him is tough to win that first game. He's the real deal. Reynolds throws the fastball for strikes, in and out of the zone, and has a good breaking ball and changeup. Reynolds has no pattern, he throws three pitches in any count, but you want the ball down against him. Stanford got hot when he got hot. Reynolds was OK and just good enough to get you beat early on. That's the major difference for the team. One thing that impressed me was Jeremy Bleich. The young left-hander was nasty. He fills it up and can throw in the upper 80s. But when Bleich got 1-0, 2-0 counts, we took advantage of his fastball. The rest of pitching is just average. Gallagher is a good college pitcher. With three pretty good college starters, Stanford can be pretty tough."
Oregon State Beavers
How They Got Here: Won the Corvallis Regional in three games
CWS History: Two trips to Omaha, last in 2005
Coach: Pat Casey (12th season)
Scouting the Beavers: "Oregon State has team speed, but the pitchers are the key. They do such a good job throwing strikes and avoiding big innings.
"They've got three really good starters. Buck is Buck. And [Dallas] Buck wins. There's talk about his stuff being down or whatever, but he still goes out there and sinks it -- and you can't do much with it. [Jonah] Nickerson is probably a better pitcher. He mixes pitches well, and his fastball is right around 90. He's going to give you some problems. The key against Oregon State is to make it where Gunderson can't get into the game. Their other arms are OK.
"The middle infield is as good as anything we saw this year. [Darwin] Barney and [Chris] Kunda can really play defense. Barney's a spark plug for the team, a leader on defense and offense.
"[Cole] Gillespie's the real deal. He's as good a hitter as we saw all year. He's head and shoulders their best guy. Gillespie will hit doubles on good pitches. Barney is real good, and [Mitch] Canham is a good player with some power.
"Oregon State is good offensively, very underrated. The Beavers do a really good job of putting pressure on you: starting runners with hit-and-run, bunting and [being] very aggressive. Once they get a baserunner, there's going to be something coming. They execute really well. We didn't want to double up pitches or live in one part of the zone or live with one pitch. They adjust well. We tried to mix on them, changing speeds and going in and out. They're really smart hitters. It's important to all guys 1-to-9 to get a sac bunt, a sac fly. Getting the leadoff man out limits their offense, but they're real good at getting on base. They take every breaking ball until they get a strike, so throw breaking balls early and they'll take it for strike one and you get ahead."
Buck is probably annoyed about where he was drafted (second round). Same goes for Nickerson and Gunderson. I would think they're going to be on fire. They're not happy and lost money. I bet they're on a mission. Oregon State made it to Omaha last year, so they have that experience. You often see teams build on that the next year if they return a lot of key guys. It's not just about getting there."
Will Kimmey covers college baseball for Baseball America.