Oregon State 1B Kavin Keyes. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
The Oregon State Beaver baseball team dropped 2 of 3 games in Los Angeles against USC, but Ben Wetzler’s Saturday three hit gem was all the Beavers needed to retain their spot atop the conference as back to back Pac-12 Champions. Its the Beaver’s forth conference title since 1999.
After dropping a midweek Civil War matchup in Eugene against Oregon, Oregon State dropped the Friday and Sunday games of the weekend series against USC at Dedeaux Field. USC’s Kyle Davis tossed a five hit one run complete game to shut down the Beavers on Sunday. Davis struck out 14 in the contest.
The Saturday victory was the clinching game in the battle for conference supremacy between Oregon State and Washington. A week after the Beavers won the series against the Huskies in Corvallis, Oregon State needed only one win to repeat as back to back regular season conference champions.
Fittingly so, Ben Wetzler took the mound. The Clakamas, Ore. senior capped off what could end up being the best year ever by an Oregon State pitcher with a three hit shutout of USC, powering the Beavers to a 2-0 win and the conference championship.
The Beavers now return to Corvallis as the number one seed in the NCAA tournament and will start their post-season within the friendly confines of Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Oregon State will play No. 1 host to UNLV, UC-Irvine, and North Dakota State.
Oregon State is 12-0 in hosted regional games, having played a regional home stand in 2005, 2006, 2011, and now 2013. The Beavers are 23-4 all time in the postseason as home.
UNLV finished the regular season at 35-23 (20-10), in the Mountain West. The Runnin’ Rebs have struggled from the mound, leading the conference in hits, runs, earned runs, and doubles allowed. UNLV lost the conference championship series final to San Diego State over the weekend.
UC-Irvine posted a 35-22 record in 2014, going 15-9 in the Big West Conference and finishing third behind Cal Poly and Long Beach State. The Anteaters are 2-8 in their last ten games, though they’ve had a tough road facing the likes of Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, and Long Beach State.
North Dakota State won it’s first ever Summit League Baseball title this year, finishing 25-24 and 10-12 in conference. The Bison will be the Beavers first opponent of the post-season, with action slated to start Friday and continue through the weekend.
Pat Casey and the Beavers had an uneasy finish, losing three of their final four games. Left-fielder Michael Conforto’s bat has gone cold as of late. As they’ve done all year, the Beaver pitching staff will be saddled with the task of containing opposing offenses. Timely hitting and consistent defense added to the mixture, and Oregon State will be on it’s way to the next step on the road to Omaha.