With normal Friday starter Andrew Moore out with the flu, and Scott Schultz too, the Beavs easily controlled the series opener against the Northern Illinois Huskies, winning 6 to 0 and upping their overall record to 11 and 3. Senior Ben Wetzler started out slow with an opening walked batter, but then finds his rhythm to retire the next ten batters and cruises to his second win of the season.
Even if the OSU offense was a bit overshadowed by the Wetzler show, the Oregon State batters also contributed to a solid win and were able to open up the game in the third inning. The Beavs made solid contact on Huskies starter Eli Anderson throughout the first couple of innings and it was just a matter of time before Trever Morrison is able to get the first OSU hit on a 3 and 1 count for a two out single. Andy Peterson then follows with a double to place two runners in scoring position for Michael Conforto to rip a two RBI single to right field.
In the fourth inning Northern Illinois is able to get at Wetzler finally with a Alex Klonowski double, but this becomes a short blip on the radar as Wetzler sandwiches three strikeouts around the double to completely limit any possible scoring damage.
OSU in their fourth inning at bat receives a couple gifts with a Huskies' error and with a two out strikeout passed ball to put runners on the corners, but then hit out of the inning on a solid play on a hard hit line drive by the Huskies first baseman Klonowski.
The rest of the way in is Wetzler's game to finish, with the only pause in his relentless pitching performance coming on what looked to be a possible back injury coming on a play Wetzler made on a Northern Illinois bunt in the sixth inning. But Wetzler shakes the issue off and goes a full eight innings and pitches a career high twelve strikeouts walking only two batters.
The Oregon State defense did not have to do a lot of work but still was solid all the way around the field. The Beavs offense does add another run in the fifth inning behind an aggressive base running double by Peterson, who is then scored by a Conforto double (Conforto goes 2 for 2 with three RBIs). The Beavs add two more in the sixth inning on a lost-in-the-lights triple by Gabe Clark who is scored on a Michael Howard single to up the lead to 4 to 0, and then Howard scores on a wild pitch to increase the lead to 5 to 0. In the seventh inning Clark then hits in the last run of the game with an RBI single to score Dylan Davis.
Freshman pitcher Chandler Eden closes the game with some defensive help on a diving catch in center field by Michael Howard, and Eden then overpowers the last two Huskies batters with back-to-back strikeouts to preserve the one hit shutout for the Beavs.
Again though the story of the evening was the mismatch between Oregon State starter Ben Wetzler and the Northern Illinois batters. The Oregon State defense and offense though were both solid, and the weather was perfect for baseball. It all added up to an impressive start to the four game series against the Huskies of Northern Illinois.
The teams will get a long one in tomorrow starting at 12:35pm with the first of two games in a double header.