web counter

College Baseball Countdown: 98 Days to Go - Bailey Ober

If you haven’t read the introductory post for our countdown to the first pitch of the 2016 college baseball season, read it here.

Today, with 98 days to go, we are going to talk about College of Charleston pitcher Bailey Ober.

In 2014, as a freshman, Ober had as much to do with Cougars’ run to the super regionals as just about anyone. He emerged as the team’s staff ace on the way to going 10-3 with a 1.52 ERA. He had an 85/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 106.2 innings of work and opposing batters hit just .192 against him.

Going into 2015, C of C looked to have a realistic chance of equaling or bettering their super regional run, thanks in large part to the one-two punch of Ober and Taylor Clarke in the starting rotation.

It was not to be, though, as Ober was first shelved at the start of the season due to a setback in his preparation for the campaign, and then later, was ruled out for the entire season as he underwent Tommy John surgery. The void as the staff ace was ably filled by Taylor Clarke, who put together a dominant season, going 13-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 114.1 innings.

As a team, Charleston had another quality season and flirted with potentially nailing down a one seed in a regional before ultimately being sent as a two seed to Tallahassee, where they advanced to the regional final. For many programs, particularly mid-major programs, that would be one heck of a season, but it’s hard not to wonder what might have been had Ober and Clarke both been healthy. Honestly, they might have combined to be the most dominant Friday/Saturday tandem in college baseball.

Also, just from a human perspective, it was disappointing to see someone who had been so successful the year before have his season taken away from him. He was such a good story as a freshman and thanks to the injury, he wasn’t given the chance to immediately provide a second act.

In 2016, there is the expectation that Ober will be back on the mound for the Cougars. Given that we’re still a few months away from the start of the season, he still has some serious rehab in front of him, but according to a recent report from D1Baseball.com’s Frankie Piliere, he has looked like his old self in recent bullpen sessions.

His return, even if it takes him some time to get back up to full strength, will be a sight for sore eyes for College of Charleston, as they underwent some serious rebuilding in the offseason. Clarke is now in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, and key offensive pieces Carl Wise and Blake Butler joined him in pro ball. Fellow slugger Nick Pappas also left the program over the summer. That’s the best pitcher and the three best hitters on the team from last year, if you’re keeping score at home.

It’s not all on Bailey Ober to get the Cougars back to the postseason, obviously, but how well he is able to bounce back for the team in the spring will go a long way toward setting the tone for the rest of the season.

Joe Healy was first introduced to college baseball when he grew up watching the likes of Jeff Niemann, Philip Humber, and Wade Townsend pitch for Rice University. To say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. That love only grew as he went off to college at Sam Houston State University, where he practically lived at Don Sanders Stadium watching his Bearkats under the direction of the legendary Mark Johnson. He holds a B.A. in political science from SHSU and is working toward his Masters in Public Administration from SIU-Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Illinois.