Alex McGarry was positive he was going to get another fastball from the Nebraska pitcher.
McGarry missed wildly on a fastball to start the at-bat and was waiting for a follow-up to come.
“So I got an 0-0 fastball, there was a runner on third and I was way late for it, like way late,” McGarry said. “So I kind of figured that they were going to try to throw another fastball by me, so I just tried to get down earlier and see something so I wouldn’t be late again.”
McGarry’s timing was spot-on. He drove the ball over the right field fence for a two-run homer, his first at Oregon State.
The Beavers went on to take an 8-3 win to sweep the four-game series over the Cornhuskers in Surprise, Arizona.
McGarry’s bat has been a big part of the Beavers’ 8-0 start, all in Arizona.
He is hitting .577 with 15 hits on 26 at-bats. He has two doubles, the home run and leads the team with 12 runs batted in.
“What he did in his first weekend of playing college baseball was amazing, our first two weekends that was probably the biggest surprise,” OSU interim coach Pat Bailey said.
It was a strong start for a player just now finding his way on the field for OSU. He spent the 2017 season at Tacoma Community College after graduating from Columbia River High in Vancouver, Washington.
He was ready to go in 2018 but wound up redshirting after surgery to remove a bone in his right hand, so McGarry has been happy to get back to business.
“Yeah, definitely. Especially not playing last year and finally getting healthy,” McGarry said. “I’ve been itching for that for a long time, so definitely worth the wait.”
McGarry tried to take advantage of the time off to develop as a player.
He was Trevor Larnach’s roommate last year and soaked in what he could from his teammate.
“Just watching the way he worked every night, just working on his swing and just his attention to detail and that kind of stuff I tried to model,” McGarry said. “I definitely think that helped.”
Larnach has a reputation for getting up a 4:30 a.m. to meditate. While McGarry does meditate and work on his mental game, he stays in bed a little longer than Larnach.
“That’s too early for me,” McGarry said.
Bailey said McGarry is a hard worker and the redshirt season paid dividends.
“I think redshirting him last season, even though I know he wasn’t super-happy about it, he accepted it,” Bailey said. “I think it was really good for him because he had a chance to work on things and improve his game offensively.”
McGarry said he arrived at OSU as a first baseman, lost some weight and was moved to the outfield.
“Our defense was just so good out there that I don’t want to get out there and mess anything up, just the way guys are playing,” he said.
“I see myself playing both. DHing, I’d say I enjoy it, honestly, just because I get to stay in that offensive mindset the whole game instead of having to go back and forth.”
The Beavers are coming off a national title and will be the team everyone targets this season.
McGarry said that’s an exhilarating situation.
"It’s kind of exciting, honestly, especially being a new guy, for me," he said. "Just knowing that we’re going to get everybody’s best every week, knowing that we really have to show up every day or else. Guys are really looking to take us out. I think it makes us better because we have to show up every night ready to play."