OSU continues home stand
No. 3 Oregon State will try to maintain its undefeated record tonight at Goss Stadium
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 02:03
Between protecting a perfect 15-0 record and gearing up for the start of Pac-12 conference play, it will be an important week for the Oregon State baseball team.
The No. 3 Beavers host San Francisco today and Wednesday before traveling to Tuscon, Ariz., to take on No. 20 Arizona on Friday.
While OSU is perfect so far, there is still fine-tuning to be done before the Beavers play the defending national champions.
If Oregon State wants to remain undefeated it will have to deal with pitching on short rest. Only a day removed from a three-game weekend sweep of Texas State, and with the always-important Pac-12 play around the corner, OSU will have to juggle its pitching staff.
Junior right-hander Dan Child is expected to be the starting pitcher today, and then will start again during the weekend. With junior left-hander Ben Wetzler still on a pitch count after returning from a back injury, either senior right-hander Taylor Starr or sophomore left-hander Tyler Painton could get the Wednesday start.
“Child’s good enough where he can throw on Tuesday and during the weekend too,” said head coach Pat Casey after Sunday’s 6-4 win against Texas State. “With Wetzler not throwing in a while, you’ve kind of got an unknown there.”
While depth is a minor cause for concern because of the schedule, the play from the pitching staff is not. Entering Tuesday’s contest, Oregon State leads the nation in team ERA at 1.19. The Beavers have allowed just 18 earned runs in 15 games.
The bullpen specifically has been a major reason Oregon State has still yet to lose, having allowed only two earned runs all season.
“It’s really nice handing the ball off knowing the team is in good shape when you leave the game, because a lot of time when the bullpen’s struggling you don’t like coming out of the game,” Wetzler said.
Offensively, the Beavers have been solid, but not on par with the pitching staff.
Casey has made it clear all season he’s not satisfied with where the offense is at, even though the Beavers are averaging 6.87 runs per game in 2013 — 0.6 more than OSU averaged in 2012.
That number could be attributed to Oregon State’s schedule so far, though. OSU’s opponents have a combined record of 40-44-2. The Beavers have also yet to start Pac-12 conference play — arguably the best conference in college baseball. Needless to say, the pitching and overall talent within the Pac-12 will surely be superior to what OSU has seen so far.
The Beavers hope to improve consistency at the plate this week against San Francisco (6-8). More importantly, OSU must not overlook a USF team that has already knocked off Arizona.
“[We need to] keep that energy up,” said senior shortstop Tyler Smith on Sunday. “Teams in the past have lost focus during the midweek games, so we really need to be ready, get the bats rolling and get some confidence going into the weekend.”
Oregon State will defend its perfect 15-0 record tonight at 5:35 in Goss Stadium.