Oregon State is set to return to its home away from home in Surprise, Ariz., for the sixth year in a row, as the 2018 national champs will again headline the Sanderson Ford Baseball Classic.
After a 36-20 finish a season ago, head coach Mitch Canham leads a young group with only three seniors into 2020.
The Beavers enjoyed a complete sweep at the 2019 Classic, but after losing seven athletes to the MLB Draft, unproven commodities will be forced to step up and fill voids early on this year.
Among those who graduated to the big leagues, catcher Adley Rutschman was selected first overall by the Baltimore Orioles, ultimately signing for $8.1 million. Rutschman finished last season with a .411 average and .751 slugging percentage.
While currently working through the ranks of the Orioles affiliate system, he has been invited as a non-roster catcher at spring training this year.
In addition to Rutschman, four pitchers were also signed after being drafted: Grant Gambrell, Branson Eisert, Bryce Fehmel and Dylan Pearce.
After losing so many arms, it will be crucial for pitchers Mitchell Verburg and Jake Mulholland to step up and help lead the team from atop the mound.
Both Verburg and Mulholland finished 2019 with sub-2.00 ERAs.
Mulholland was named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball back in December. The senior from Snohomish, Wash., will aim to become the first four-time All-American in the decorated history of the Oregon State program.
Mulholland was named an All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2017, by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball in 2018, and by Perfect Game in 2019.
The only other Beaver to be named an All-American three times is current New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto.
The Beavers have added six pitchers as part of the freshman class, along with transfer Reid Sebby from Cypress College.
Oregon State’s run of success in recent memory speaks for itself, but, with so much turnover, the Sanderson Ford Classic will undoubtedly provide OSU fans with some early insight into what we can expect from this squad this season.