Wetzler Returns For Washington - Oregon St. Series Finale

Ben Wetzler will be back on the mound today for Oregon St. Odds are he will be tougher than ever after recent developments.

#5 Washington (38-12-1, 20-6) at #2 Oregon St. (40-9, 21-5) / Goss Stadium / 3:00 PM PDT / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM

Game Notes / Washington Series Notes

Oregon St. and Washington wrap up their series today that will probably decide the Pac-12 title, and earn a National Seed to the NCAA Tournament which begins in 2 weeks.

After the Huskies took the 4-2 series opening win Friday night, the Beavers bounced back for a 1-0 win yesterday, on Logan Ice's walk-to-the-dogpile RBI double that scored Dylan Davis.

The win put Oregon St. 1 game ahead of Washington in the Pac-12 race, and a win today would give the Beavers the season tie-breaker, and necessitate only a single win next week in LA against USC, or a lone loss by the Huskies in Seattle against UCLA, to take the conference's automatic seed to the NCAA Tournament. Any combination of 2 Oregon St wins or Washington losses next week would then sew up a second consecutive Pac-12 title for the Beavers outright.

However, the Huskies can claim the tie-breaker if they win today, and therefore control of the race, as the Beavers couldn't claim the conference's automatic top seed even if they sweep the Trojans if Washington also sweeps the Bruins.

Oregon St. would then need a combination of 4 Beaver wins ans Husky losses to claim the conference title, and the Huskies could claim their first outright title since well before reunification of the then Pac-10 with a combination of 4 Washington wins and Oregon St. losses next weekend.

An Oregon St. win will also end Washington's run of 14 consecutive series wins, and 12 series wins in a row in conference.

The Beavers will send senior LHP Ben Wetzler (9-1, 0.94) out to get the series deciding game. Wetzler will be back from his 5 game suspension, which was issued Thursday, retroactive to last Saturday's game, after Wetzler was arrested early Saturday morning, after mistaking his neighbor's house for his own.

Wetzler was intoxicated at the time, after over-celebrating pitching Oregon St. to a 4-2 win over UCLA last Friday night. Wetzler had worked 8 innings, allowing only 2 hits, and walking none while striking out 8 in a 120 pitch outing to extend his career win record at Oregon St. to 33.

Last year, it was Wetzler who came to the rescue after Washington had swept a rain necessitated rainy double header in Seattle, to power Oregon St. to an 8-0 win, turning in a 4 hit, 1 walk, 6 strikeout complete game shutout with essentially no bullpen backup after the events of the day before. That started the Beavers on a 12 game winning streak that set the stage for the run to Omaha.

The Huskies will counter with junior RHP Jeff Brigham (6-2, 3.04). Brigham's last outing was the first 6 innings of Washington's 7 inning 7-1 win over Bethune-Cookman in the second game of last Saturday's double header.

Brigham allowed only 4 hits and 1 walk in his 6 innings of shutout work.

It should be another tremendous battle between the 2 old northwest rivals that have turned in a half dozen memorable matchups over the last 2 seasons.

One player who won't be on the field for the Beavers today is senior second baseman Andy Peterson, who head coach Pat Casey has announced will miss today's game with a sprained ankle, suffered in the celebration dog-pile after yesterday's win.

The problem is complicated by the absence of Kavin Keyes, out since the Washington St. series after breaking a bone in his glove hand wrist making a tag. Keyes had hoped to be able to return to action this past week, but the doctor didn't clear him. Ordinarily, in this situation, Keyes would have move to second base, a position he has played in previous seasons.

Nick Rulli will DH and hit second, in Peterson's spot, and normal third baseman Caleb Hamilton will move over, and make his first collegiate start at second. Jerad Casper will start at third today. Peterson had made every start of the season at second.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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