Weekend Insider: Opening WeekAnalysis
• Five Storylines To Watch
— Oregon State welcomes fresh faces
— Louisiana-Texas series has intrigue
— UConn aims for early statement
— UCLA gets stiff early test
— Five name brands hope to bounce back
• Five Prospects To Watch
• Weekend Injury Report
• On The Coaching Carousel
STORYLINES TO WATCH
1. Oregon State Welcomes Fresh Faces
Beavers fans haven’t had to look at roster bios the last couple of seasons. They’ve known what to expect in the everyday lineup. But that won’t be the case this weekend when they begin the season in Surprise, Ariz. OSU will be without several key cogs from last year’s national title team, including Trevor Larnach, Michael Gretler, Steven Kwan, Jack Anderson, Cadyn Grenier, Kyle Nobach, Nick Madrigal, and on the mound, lefthander Luke Heimlich. Suffice to say, that’s a lot of star power and leadership to replace.
The good news for OSU is that a strong nucleus returns that should allow this team not to take a huge step back. On the mound, righthander Kevin Abel is back after capturing the nation’s attention in Omaha last year, while OSU’s bullpen will be elite with lefties Jake Mullholland, Christian Chamberlain and Brandon Eisert leading the way. OSU also welcomes back hard-nosed Bryce Fehmel, while righty Grant Gambrell, who has power stuff, might just be ready to take a big step forward.