OSU still unbeaten
No. 4 Oregon State wins three straight against the Bobcats, marks program’s longest winning streak s
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 02:03
me sweep of Texas State this past weekend at Goss Stadium.
The Beavers (15-0) set the tone early in the weekend, blowing out the Bobcats (5-10) by a score of 16-4 on Friday night. OSU won again comfortably, 6-3, on Saturday, setting the stage for what was the closest game of the series.
Junior left-hander Ben Wetzler got off to a rocky start, allowing a leadoff double that gave Texas State a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Wetzler allowed another run in his final inning of work — the third inning — as he continues to recover from a pulled back muscle.
Needing a boost, the Beavers put pressure on the Texas State defense to get on the scoreboard. After junior catcher Jake Rodriguez led off the fifth inning with a single, three consecutive Beavers reached base successfully without hitting the ball out of the infield.
Junior second baseman Andy Peterson laid a bunt down the first base line, which resulted in an error from Texas State pitcher Scott Grist.
Senior shortstop Tyler Smith reached the same way, before senior right fielder Ryan Barnes drove in another run with yet another bunt. Sophomore outfielder Dylan Davis plated the final run on a fielder’s choice.
“That’s a thing we always like to do is put pressure on teams,” Smith said. “We’re not afraid to lay bunts down all day, because we work on it so much in practice. It’s good to have it work in a game like that.”
The Bobcats tied the game at three runs apiece in the sixth inning before Smith came through again, this time doing it with the long ball. Smith turned on a 1-0 fastball, driving it over the wall in left field, giving Oregon State a 6-3 lead.
“I was looking middle-in and I knew that guy was going to throw a lot of fastballs because he couldn’t control his offspeed,” Smith said. “So my approach was to sit fastball middle-in, try to turn on it and luckily I got that pitch and was able to hit it hard.”
Freshman left-hander Max Engelbrekt allowed one more Texas State run in the ninth — the second earned run the OSU bullpen had allowed all season — but shut the door, extending the Beavers’ perfect mark to 15-0.
Even with the winning streak growing with every game, Oregon State isn’t worried about the pressure of an undefeated record.
“I think it’s good,” said head coach Pat Casey. “Pressure comes when you’re not playing well, when you’re not winning games. We expect to win and guys should expect to play that way.”
“It’s weird, I feel like we don’t have any pressure,” Barnes added. “I feel like we just keep finding ways to win.”
Oregon State’s record says the Beavers are perfect, but Casey maintains there is still work to be done with Pac-12 conference play right around the corner.
“I want [to see us] sustaining some energy throughout the game,” Casey said. “I thought [Sunday] was a day where you’re going for a sweep and should be charged. I thought we were for a couple innings but I thought a couple innings we weren’t energized, and we can do a better job at that.”
The Beavers also want to continue improving offensively. Oregon State scored 28 runs over the weekend on 36 hits, but has scored the majority of their runs in spurts.
“We just need to have consistent at bats in every inning and never get satisfied when we have a lead,” Smith said. “We always want to be in attack mode.”
“We’ve just got to keep swinging it,” Barnes added. “Better approaches throughout the game, and I think we’re locked and loaded for any game.”
Oregon State should be heavy favorites in both games with San Francisco this coming week, which would make OSU 17-0.
Only three other teams in the nation are still undefeated — North Carolina (15-0), Florida State (15-0) and Dartmouth (3-0). Smith thinks the Beavers are as good as their 15-0 record.
“I think we’re as good as anyone and I think we can beat anyone on any given day if we play our game,” Smith said. “With our pitching staff and our lineup, the things we can do up and down our lineup, I think we have good team speed too, I think we have it all.”
OSU will host San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling to Tuscon, Ariz., to take on the No. 17 Arizona — the defending national champions.