What a difference a few weeks makes

Three weeks ago, I was planning on writing a few stories about baseball before pushing headfirst into summer football excitement. There would have been an article about how amazing the baseball season was and how much I was looking forward to football.

Now, as we are on the cusp of Oregon State hiring Wayne Tinkle this morning as its head coach, we are also on the verge of the Beavers getting a National Seed and winning the Pac-12 in baseball after an amazing series against the University of Washington this weekend.

So while I will still post about football in the near future, the national momentum of the Beavers baseball team, coupled with the excitement of a new basketball coach has me a little distracted.

Wayne Tinkle:
This name may not be super familiar to many of you, but here is his resume:

– 158–89 in 8 seasons at his Alma-mater Montana
– Three NCAA Tournament Invites in the last five years
– 1 CBI Tournament Invite
– 2 times advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament
– His teams have finished 3rd or higher in the Big Sky conference 7 of his 8 years at Montana.
– He has finished 1st or second in four of the last five
– He has had four 20 win seasons
– He has only had one losing season, and never had below a .500 conference record.

Wayne has experience as a college player and played 12 years in Europe. He also has been able to get JC talent to Montana and get the occasional 3-star prospect to come to Missoula and play for him. The biggest part of Tinkle’s resume that sticks out to me is his teams making the second round of the NCAA tournament twice. It is not just that he made it in, but as a team that was an 8 seed or below, that means his teams beat upper seed teams twice.  While wins in division are all relative, it is the wins you get when you step out that show how your team is stacking up nationally. In 2010, his Grizzlies beat UCLA in L.A. and beat Oregon State.

The biggest issue is not if he can coach, it is if he can get top talent to come to Oregon State and can win enough to put butts in seats.  This is not a sexy hire, despite him winning Sexiest Coach in America. People are not going to bombard the ticket office like they would have for Ben Howland. Fortunately, Craig Robinson left Tinkle with a program that makes money, and every win that Tinkle hopefully gets, will bring a few people at a time to the games. And every one of those people is pure profit.

I think Tinkle is a good hire, as hires go. I don’t think it is a home run in terms of instant credibility, but it is probably a double or triple. Assuming he can recruit, I am confident that this is a coach that can get them to the NCAA tournament. That is a big if, and like every hire OSU has had since Ralph Miller left, there is excitement, hope, and apprehension. As the last few hires have come and gone, the apprehension is stronger than the hope and excitement combined.

Hopefully Wayne Tinkle is ready to roll up his sleeves and get rolling because the cheers of Gill have not died, they just need a reason to be heard again.

Baseball:
This weekend was a dominating series by the Beavers pitchers. While OSU did drop the first game, the huskies were held scoreless for 19 innings and didn’t get an RBI the whole weekend.  Mistakes plagued the Beavers on Friday and Saturday, though the electric walk off double by Logan Ice erased any bad feelings left over from the miscues.

The big takeaways from this weekend, in my mind, is that Washington is the best team that OSU has faced and that OSU has enough weapons to beat anyone. While the offense was sloppy, and potential runs were left on base, picked off, or left on due to great pitching and poor execution of hit and runs, the arms of the Beavers were more than enough to make sure that even one run was enough to get the job done. Last week, the bats came alive late in games. The week before it was a combo deal with timely hitting and solid pitching.

Against UW, it was an arm battle on both sides and OSU showed that they have the arms to get it done even against top talent. From here on out, it is not about dominance, it is about wins — and the Beavers have all the tools to win big or eek them out. Overall, it looks like a great time to be hitting your stride.  For those that are not sure, winning 15 of 16 games is the definition of hitting your stride.

Let us know why you think we are a bunch of crap sacks... or if you love us. Or just want to say hi.