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Wetzler takes care of business, Beavs defeat ASU 4 to 0 in series opener

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It was another stellar pitching performance by senior left-hand pitcher Ben Wetzler, who goes seven innings allowing only two hits and striking out eight on his way to another shut-out victory.

Gabe Clark sparks the OSU offense with his two RBI single as the Beavs defeat ASU 4 to 0
Gabe Clark sparks the OSU offense with his two RBI single as the Beavs defeat ASU 4 to 0

The #4 Oregon State Beavers won their 11th in a row, 4-0 over Arizona St., with a strong pitching performance from starter Ben Wetzler and reliever Scott Schultz, who combined to allow only three hits and no runs.   The Beavs offense had to chip away at Arizona State starter Brett Lilek, who goes four and 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts but ends up giving up three runs.

For the first five innings it was a strong pitching duel between the two starters, with both pitchers going after batters with confidence.   It was an early battle that was highlighted by a rare two strikeouts by Michael Conforto in his first two at bats.  The Oregon State's offense though made Lilek work, and forced his pitch count up to over a 100 through only four innings.  The OSU bats finally broke through in the fifth inning (after continuing to get runners on base every inning up to the fifth) to score three runs and end Lilek's night.

Lilek would take the loss, his first of the season, and drop to 3-1.

The Oregon State defense overall did not have to work too hard, but did have three errors.  Two errors were early on and could have set up some possible damage to be done, but Wetzler got the Beavs out of possible issues by keeping his composure and the team under control (the third error occurred in the ninth inning when the game was well in control behind a solid relief appearance by senior Scott Schultz).

Again though the Beavs offense took awhile to figure out left-handed Lilek, and early on just picked away with only a single by freshman Trever Morrison and a lost-in-the-lights double for Jerad Casper.   The beginning of the turning point was Kavin Keyes' smash double off the left field fence in the fourth inning, and even though the Beavs could not score Keyes they seemed to use this to help spark a rally in the next at bat.  As such, in the fifth inning Dylan Davis is able to finally break the 0-0 tie with a bases loaded sac-fly RBI, to be then followed by a two-out single by DH Gabe Clark scoring Andy Peterson and Michael Conforto.

The final OSU run occurred on a beautiful hit-and-run play in the sixth inning where Peterson was able to score Morrison on a two out double.

Things settled back down and Wetzler and Schultz closed the deal for the Beavers, who go to 19 and 3 for the season and 4 and 0 for conference play.   Wetzler picks up his fourth win of the season, with no losses, on 112 pitches (71 of which were strikes), with only one walk and one hit batter.

A large crowd of 2,792 turned out on the chilly evening to watch the Beavs' home conference opener. The win also moved Coach Pat Casey into 10th place all-time in the conference in wins, with his 689th at Oregon St.

Oregon State and the Sun Devils pick up the action again tomorrow, Saturday with a 1:35 pm scheduled first pitch.