Baseball Season Preview: The Infield

Feb. 15, 2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. -

The start to Oregon State’s 2010 season comes Friday night at Hawaii. The Beavers will open their newest campaign with a four-game series at Hawaii before returning next weekend to host Tennessee Feb. 26-28.

Let’s take a look at the team’s infield for a preview of the 2010 season. Here’s what Oregon State associate head coach Marty Lees had to say about the team’s infield and catchers.

“I really feel like we have as good of a group as we have ever had, and we have some depth, too. When I think of depth, I’m thinking about freshmen like Tyler Smith, who are good. Keith Jennette is one of our better defenders. If he can improve at the plate, he can really help us. One of the things we have been able to do is, show some flexibility.

“Jared (Norris) can play both the outfield and first base. That will give us a chance for Danny Hayes to play at first base and we can get some more power in our lineup. Andy Quiring has also been able to play both, although I see him playing a lot more outfield, but he is an option.

“I think one of things that helps us is that guys can play multiple positions. Tyler Smith has got to be our utility guy. He’s going to be key to what we do this year because he might have to play three positions and he’s going to have to be sharp at all times. Dylan Jones has been a nice surprise in the infield. I think he has as much game savvy, baseball savvy, as anyone on our team. He’s doing things at first base that I’m not even teaching yet, that he just already understands. Matt Boyd can be an option; however he will be pitching and hitting more than he is called on defensively. Parker Berberet is an option at first base. He’s shown that he can hit a little bit. He’s been playing catcher and learning first base at the same time, but if he can hit, he’s got to play. Andrew Susac is the No. 1 catcher. I think that Parker and (Ryan) Gorton are right in there as well at two and three, depending on the situation.”

Like Lees mentioned, the Beavers have a great deal of depth at the infield position, and will be led by a group of veterans who have been with the club at least one season. John Tommasini is the “elder statesman” of the group, having lettered with the program for two seasons, while Norris and Romero have both played for Oregon State for one season and lettered. Carter Bell also lettered last season, seeing action at both third base and shortstop. This season, with the departure of Joey Wong to the pro ranks, Bell has been working out primarily at short with the plans for him to succeed the two-year starter at the position.

Oregon State has eight players listed as infielders and four as catchers, with Boyd and Jones listed primarily as pitchers but able to serve in utility roles. Jennette, Quiring, Jones, Berberet and Tyler Anderson are all junior college transfers and are highly touted coming into the program. Jennette spent the past two seasons at Sierra College after graduating from Del Campo High School in Sacramento. He earned first-team honors as a sophomore. Quiring, meanwhile, joins the program from Feather River College, where, as a sophomore, he batted .406 with 23 doubles and four home runs.

Berberet was a two-year letterwinner at Cypress College. He batted .411 with 15 doubles and nine home runs as a sophomore, a year after he batted .357 with five home runs and 21 RBI. Jones, meanwhile, played two seasons at Mount Hood Community College but is well known amongst those in Corvallis as he played two seasons for the Corvallis Knights. He batted .333 with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBI for Mount Hood last year, and as a pitcher, was 6-2 with a 2.94 earned run average. Lastly, Anderson, like Quiring, played last season at Feather River College and batted .389 with 10 doubles and five home runs as a sophomore.

Boyd, Barnes, Susac, Hayes and Smith are the team’s infield newcomers coming directly from high school. Boyd is listed primarily as a pitcher, but has shown to have a big stick at the plate, where he batted .464 as a senior. He was also 7-2 with a 0.84 ERA for Eastside Catholic High School in Mercer Island, Wash. Barnes, meanwhile, made the move to the catcher’s spot in the fall and has impressed after coming from West Linn High School, where as a senior, he batted .453 with nine doubles, three triples and eight home runs.

Hayes and Susac were teammates at Jesuit High School in the Sacramento area. Susac was once an Aflac All-American and in his senior year, was rated as the No. 40 high school player in the nation by Baseball America. Hayes, meanwhile, comes to Corvallis after earning all-league honors twice. Smith, lastly, is an OSU Beaver by way of Thousand Oaks, Calif., where he lettered for three seasons and was team captain his senior season.

Check osubeavers.com in the following days to read about the team’s outfield and pitching staff.

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