Wright St. (3-7) vs. #3 Oregon St. (8-3) / Goss Stadium / 1:05 PM PST / No TV / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
Oregon St. and Wright St. are scheduled to wrap up their series today, and the Raiders could gain a surprise split, or the Beavers could take 3 of 4, after yesterday's chilly doubleheader split.
But story of the day is the return of Oregon St.'s senior left hander Ben Wetzler, after serving a 20% of the season suspension imposed by the NCAA for standard practice professional consultation while in negotiation with the Philadelphia Phillies organization after being drafted in the 5th round of the MLB draft last summer.
Wetzler ultimately opted to return to Oregon St. for his senior season, and the Phillies organization complained to the NCAA about draftees who turned them down. A similar situation arose up as Washington St., but that was resolved just before the start of the season.
Oregon St. proposed a 10% of the season suspension, while the NCAA called for 50%, and eventually settled on 20%. Oregon St. appealed, but the NCAA refused the appeal without even giving an explanation for their decision.
It's water under the bridge at this point, as the season is now 20% over already, and Wetzler is now ready and eligible.
It's not exactly an unprecedented situation for Wetzler, coming into the Sunday roll a couple of weeks into the season. Last year, Wetzler was also the early pick to be head coach Pat Casey's Friday starter, and though the circumstances were different, a temporary back problem, the effect was the same.
Matt Boyd stepped into the 1st starter role, as Andrew Moore has done this season, Wetzler missed the first 2 series, and then became the Sunday starter.
That worked out pretty well, as Wetzler went on to an All-Pac-12 season, 10 straight wins, a 10-1 season, and a 2.55 ERA..
Wright St. decide as game time approached to counter with on the mound, settling on junior transfer LHP Darion Nunn (0-0, 4.15 ERA), who will be making his first start, after 4 relief appearances. The Raiders will enter the game with some confidence, after touching up Oregon St. for 18 hits yesterday, and their biggest win in a while, taking down a top 5 team on their own field.
Wetzler built a reputation for toughness on the mound, and its likely he will need to maintain the circumstance-proof focus that served him well last season, if the main take-away from yesterday persists through the season.
Oregon St. stranded 25 runners on base in one day, and left the bases loaded twice in the second game. Though they won the opener 6-4 before dropping the nightcap 6-2, the opportunities for both games to be blowout Beaver wins.
Closing out games was also a problem, as 7 of the 10 Raider runs came in the last third of the games, and so bullpen support can't be counted on on a consistent basis, do Oregon St.'s success could depend on long, dominating performances by starting pitchers.
Sounds like a job for Big Ben, doesn't it?
Despite struggling yesterday at the plate yesterday, coming up with only 1 bunt and 1 RBI in 3 at bats with the bases loaded, Andy Peterson is atop the lineup today. Here's the lineup for Oregon St.
2B - Andy Peterson
3B - Caleb Hamilton
LF - Michael Conforto
RF - Dylan Davis
DH - Gabe Clark
1B - Kavin Keyes
CF - Nick RUlli
C - Logan Ice
SS - Trever Morrison
P - Ben Wetzler