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Oregon St. Opens Pac-12 Play At Utah

Ben Wetzler will take the point on pitching for Oregon St. as the Beavers begin Pac-12 play in Utah.
Ben Wetzler will take the point on pitching for Oregon St. as the Beavers begin Pac-12 play in Utah.

#4 Oregon St. (15-3) at Utah (8-7) / Smith Ball Park, Salt Lake City / 6 PM MDT (5 PM PDT) / No TV / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM

Game Notes / Utah Game Notes

Oregon St. opens Pac-12 play with a weekend series at Utah.

The Utes play in what most people knew as Spring Mobile Ball Park (if they remember the name of the place at all), which is also the home of the AAA Salt Lake City Bees of the Pacific Coast League. As such, its one of the best ballparks, and certainly one of the largest, the Beavers will get to play in all year.

Spring Mobile, was renamed to Smith Ballpark, in a naming rights deal with the local grocery and drug store chain this spring, and is located south of downtown, and southwest of campus. It seats 12,000, and isn't necessarily a home-run park, despite being at an altitude of 4,200 feet, as Its field dimensions are: 345 down the LF line, 420 to the spacious CF, though only 315 down the RF line.

The Utes lost 9-3 Monday at UT-Arlington, in an extra, get-away game, ironically after having swept the Hilton Invitational in Arlington over the weekend, including a 5-3 win over UT-Arlington, as well as a 9-8 win over Abilene Christian, and 7-3 over Missouri St.

Back in Surprise, in the Big-10/Pac-12 Tournament, Utah lost 8-5 to the Michigan St. team that also beat the Beavers 8-7, but beat the Nebraska team 4-3 that thumped Oregon St. 9-2. Both the Utes and Beavers beat Indiana that weekend, 5-4 and 8-1 respectively.

The Beavers are hitting the road after winning 9 of the 10 games in their recent home stand, including sweeping a 4 game weekend series against Northern Illinois, with 3 of the wins shutouts, and then coming from behind to pull out a 4-3 win Tuesday night over Ohio St.

Sophomore Andrew Moore, who had been the Friday starter all season, came down with the flu late last week, and did not pitch last weekend. Ben Wetzler, originally expected to be Oregon St.'s Friday night starter until his eligibility issue stemming from last year's MLB draft and subsequent negotiations, had dropped into the Sunday slot when he returned, the same place in the rotation he held down last year, but was moved to Friday night's start last week against Northern Illinois.

Wetzler responded with a career high 12 strikeouts against only 1 hit in the first 8 innings of the Beavers' 6-0 shutout of the Huskies. It impressed head coach Pat Casey enough to send the senior LHP Wetzler (2-0, 0.57 ERA) out to start the weekend again this week.

Utah will counter with junior RHP Mitch Watrous (1-2, 4.37 ERA). Watrous got his first win of the year in the Utes' 5-3 win over UT-Arlington last Friday. Watrous worked into the 7th inning, coming out after allowing the Mavericks their 3rd run of the game, all earned. Utah relievers Zach Adams and Nick Green preserved the lead though. Watrous is not an over-powering type of pitcher, and allowed 7 hits and 3 walks against only 1 strikeout.

Last year, the Beavers also faced Watrous in the series opener against the Utes, and he allowed only 4 hits, and with help from Green, limited Oregon St. to only 1 run, when Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis both moved Tyler Smith along after his first inning leadoff single.

It wasn't enough for Utah though, as that was the night Matt Boyd threw a complete game 2 hit, 2 walk 8 strikeout shutout at the Utes.

Jeff Hendrix is back in the Oregon St. lineup tonight, returning after having suffered a pulled hamstring 3 weeks ago, and Dylan Davis is back batting cleanup.

Here's tonight's Beaver lineup:

CF - Jeff Hendrix

2B - Andy Peterson

LF - Michael Conforto

RF - Dylan Davis

1B - Kavin Keyes

DH - Gabe Clark

SS - Trever Morrison

C - Logan Ice

3B - Caleb Hamilton

P - Ben Wetzler