Oregon State baseball head coach Pat Casey and his team are in Arizona for the weekend for the Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge. Before heading to the Phoenix area, Casey spoke with Hail Varsity Radio about the weekend’s matchups and his thoughts on the landscape of college baseball.
Speaking about the Big Ten specifically, Casey has seen the conference evolve for the better over time.
“Certainly I have, especially over the last couple of years,” Casey said. “You see teams like Indiana. You see teams like Michigan State getting better. Obviously Nebraska added to that conference has made that conference better. Iowa had a great year. Illinois has a great year a couple of years ago. It’s the same thing. I think baseball is really getting better across the board and college baseball all together.
“I think the Big Ten has made an effort to upgrade some ballparks. I know that’s a big issue there and it’s really helped recruiting in that conference. I think that they have went out and played better schedules so I have respect for what they’ve done in that conference and it’s going to be one of the stronger conferences this year.”
Casey also acknowledged that individual teams have been helping improve the Big Ten overall, which has made it exciting for inter-conference matchups with teams like Oregon State.
“I think if you look at the jump they’ve made, they’re jumping up there with [conferences] like the Big 12,” Casey said. “I think the Big Ten may have made some big strides with that conference if you look at how close they are in proximity and some of the teams. I see the Big Ten making a big jump. Obviously Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio State … those are teams that have been doing well. I think you’re going to see an uptick in Michigan too. I know they’ve been out on the recruiting trail pretty good. I know the assistant at Oregon got the job at Purdue. Look for some improvement there.
“I think it’s a good conference and we’re excited we get to play those people. I always think inter-conference play is great but I wish there was a mandate across the board for conferences to play inter-conference games so that everybody gets a chance to play someone from the ACC, the SEC, the Big Ten, the Pac-12. You find out that you can get better representation in the tournament.”
You can listen to Casey’s full interview above.
Chris teamed up with Aaron and Mike Babcock back in 2008 and has been working the radio ever since. Originally from Lincoln, Chris grew up going to Husker games with his family. “Schmidty” loves talking sports and the chance to interview and visit with coaches and players. Chris is married to Erin and they have one son, Carson.