Bernstein Breaks Down Marquee Pitching Matchup
In a season that has produced some remarkable moments and terrific individual accomplishments, it will be hard to match the lure of the pitching matchup Friday night at Sunken Diamond.
In the first game of a pivotal series between No. 6 Oregon State and No. 25 Stanford, two of the top starting pitchers in the country will square off in Palo Alto. The Cardinal will go with powerful right-hander Mark Appel, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, who is 8-3 with a 1.56 ERA this season. Oregon St. will counter with lefty Matt Boyd, who is 9-2 with a 1.88 ERA.
“You would be hard-pressed to find a better matchup, not just in the Pac-12, but anywhere,” Pac-12 Networks play-by-play announcer Roxy Bernstein said. “Where else are you going to get the possible No. 1 pick in the draft against a legitimate frontline conference pitcher of the year type?”
Appel ranks third in the country with 106 strikeouts and his excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.07 ranks 15th. Boyd, meanwhile, ranks in the top-20 in the country in hits allowed per nine innings (5.84).
Appel was the No. 8 pick in the 2012 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates but elected to return to Stanford for his senior season.
“I’ve seen him grow as a pitcher from last year,” Bernstein said. “He’s almost effortless out there and he’s throwing 95 (mph). Some guys have to give max effort on every pitch and they might get to 85. With Appel, you get the sense that it’s just smooth and natural. I think he understands the art of pitching more now. That’s a big plus about him coming back.”
Boyd was drafted in the 13th round of last year’s draft by Cincinnati but also came back to school. He’s not the power pitcher Appel is, making for a contrast in styles Friday night.
“Boyd is just a gamer,” Bernstein said. His stuff is good, but it’s not Appel stuff. But he knows how to execute a game plan.”
The three-game series at Sunken Diamond is important for both teams. The Beavers are vying for the Pac-12 title and to host an NCAA Regional. Stanford, meanwhile, needs to rack up more quality wins to ensure an NCAA bid.
“Stanford goes into every weekend knowing they have a good chance to win on Friday with Appel out there,” Bernstein said. “Now they just have to win Saturday or Sunday to win the series. And Oregon St. has their guy to go out there and help bolster their chance at a national seed. It’s great for the league.”