#2 Oregon St. (31-8, 14-4) vs. California (19-21, 7-11) / Evans Diamond, Berkeley, CA / 7:00 PM PDT / No TV / KEJO 1240 AM / No KPOJ 620 AM
Oregon St. starts their weekend Pac-12 series against California tonight in Berkeley, CA, at Evans Diamond. It's the first time the Beavers have ever played under the recently installed lights at the Bear's field.
The Bears haven't beat the Beavers since 2011, with Oregon St. having swept the series each of the last 2 seasons, and won 7 in a row against California.
The second ranked Beavers, who trail conference leading Washington by just 1/2 game going into the weekend, come in having won 4 straight, including a home sweep of rival Oregon last weekend in Corvallis. The Huskies handled Utah 8-4 earlier today in Salt Lake City to expand their lead to 1 game pending tonight's outcome.
The Bears sit in 8th place, tied with rival Stanford, but California holds the tie breaker over the Cardinal, having taken 2 of 3 games across the bay in Palo Alto last weekend during rivalry week.
The Bears are also on a 2 game winning streak, after edging visiting San Francisco 1-0 Tuesday evening.
Oregon St. will start senior LHP Ben Wetzler (7-1, 0.73 ERA) as usual on a Friday. Wetzler became the winningest pitcher in Beaver history last Friday when his 8 1/3+ inning outing that produced a 3-1 win over Oregon moved him to 31 college wins, and past Ken Noble on the all-time Oregon St. list. 3 of those wins have come against California, in Wetzler's start against the Bears each of the last 3 seasons. 3 of the wins in the current 7 game streak have been at the hands of Wetzler.
California will counter with freshman RHP Daulton Jeffries (2-4, 3.27 ERA).
Jefferies started his college career with back to back season opening shutouts of Texas and East Tennessee St., but though he's pitched well, he hasn't been able to approximate that level of performance since.
Jefferies didn't pitch last weekend at Stanford, with his last action coming 2 weeks ago, in the Bears' series opener against Washington, when he went 7 2/3 innings, and gave up 6 hits and a walk, and 2 runs to the Huskies, who also got 2 runs off the California bullpen, and held off a 2 run Bear rally on their way to a 4-3 win.
The Bears will count on pitching to keep them in the series this weekend; California has only 1 player, cleanup designated hitter Brendan Farney, who is hitting above .275, and he's only at a level .300.
Contrast that with the Beavers, who are led by Michael Conforto, who comes in hitting .412, but also have Jeff Hendrix hitting .364, and Dylan Davis, at .289, but with a Pac-12 leading 47 RBIs. In fact, the Bears only have 1 player hitting better than the Beavers are as a team.