Pat Casey and the Oregon State Beavers rebounded off their worst loss since 2012 and staved off elimination by winning both games of a twin bill on Sunday, beating UNLV, 6-1, in the first game and UC-Irvine, 4-0, in the night cap. The Beavers will play the UC-Irvine Anteaters for a third time in the 2014 Corvallis Regional, with the winner punching it’s ticket to the Super Regionals.
Ben Wetzler tossed a complete game four-hitter, striking out 10 UNLV batters on the day. The senior lefty bumped his record to 12-1 with his school-best 36th career win. He is 8-0 with a 0.66 ERA in eight home starts in 2014.
An uneasy tension, stemming from the previous evenings 14-2 schlacking by UC-Irvine, hung heavily over the game as both teams remained gridlocked at a scoreless tie until the sixth inning. Michael Conforto broke out of his late spring dry-spell to start the inning, singling with one out. The junior left-fielder received a standing ovation once safely aboard at first, showered in admiration by a fan base that played witness to the Woodinville, Wash. product’s offensive struggles as of late.
A botched throw on a weak grounder by Dylan Davis put runners on second and third for Oregon State. Gabe Clark singled in Conforto, and a Logan Ice sacrifice-fly made the score 2-0.
After a Caleb Hamilton single, Kavin Keyes tripled, scoring two more on the way to a five-run sixth inning for Oregon State. Jeff Hendrix would smack a triple of his own in the eighth inning to score the Beaver’s sixth run in the contest.
Just hours after Wetzler’s gem, Oregon State closer Scott Schultz was tabbed to come out of the bullpen and make his third start of the year. Much like the dominant control of the ninth inning that Beaver fans have become accustomed to, Schultz twirled a two-hit shutout of the team that just 24 hours earlier, had handed the Beavers their worst post season loss ever at Goss Stadium.
The Gig Harbor, Wash. native struck-out four, walked two, and retired 18 of the last 20 batters he faced to give Oregon State the 4-0 victory and a chance to complete their redemption Monday night.
Michael Conforto doubled in Andy Peterson in the first to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead right off the bat, so to speak. Oregon State notched three more runs in the third, a rally sparked by one of Jeff Hendrix’s two doubles on the night.
Oregon State and UC-Irvine will face off at 8:05 p.m. tonight at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The winner of the elimination game continues on the path to Omaha, with the loser being relegated to the off-season.