Wetzler, Beavers close in on Pac-12 title

CORVALLIS — Oregon State senior left-hander Ben Wetzler blanked Washington 3-0 on a brilliant two-hitter on Sunday to move the Beavers to within one victory of a repeat Pacific-12 Conference championship.

Wetzler struck out nine, did not allow a runner past first base and picked off another in improving his record to 10-1 overall and 8-1 in the Pac-12. He is 20-1 in his last 21 decisions over the past two seasons and he extended his school-record for career wins to 34.

Wetzler threw 76 strikes in 116 pitches in his second complete game. He allowed a single in the second inning and a single in the fifth inning, then retired 12 of the final 13 Huskies in order to lower his season ERA to 0.84, his Pac-12 ERA to 0.88 and his home ERA to 0.63. He also set a school record for career innings pitched (3511/3), breaking Ken Noble's old mark of 3482/3.

The Beavers now lead Washington by two games with three league games left in their bid to repeat as Pac-12 champions for the first time since 2006. Both teams finish the regular season this coming weekend; the Beavers head to USC while the Huskies host defending NCAA champion UCLA.

OSU's magic number is one; any combination of an OSU win or a Washington loss in those series will give the Beavers their fourth Pac-12 title since the 1999 reunification. They also won in 2005, 2006 and 2013.

The Beavers scored the only runs of the game in the fourth. Dylan Davis, Gabe Clark and Logan Ice singled with one out to load the bases for Jerad Casper, who walked on a 3-2 count to force in the first run. Caleb Hamilton then blooped a single into short left field — after a 30-minute rain delay - to score Clark and Ice, giving the Beavers a 3-0 edge.

All six of OSU's runs in the series were driven in by Washington natives. Trever Morrison (Bothell) had two RBIs in Friday's 4-2 loss; Ice (Puyallup) had the only RBI in Saturday's 1-0 win and Hamilton (Woodinville) and Casper (Maple Valley) had Sunday's RBIs.

Hamilton and Davis had two hits apiece on Sunday. Hamilton played second base in place of senior Andy Peterson after 41 starts at third base and handled two chances flawlessly. Peterson had started the previous 49 games there but was not available on Sunday; Casper started at third in Hamilton's stead.

The Beavers are 21-4 overall and 12-3 in Pac-12 games at Goss Stadium this season, with a home NCAA regional likely to come. They have 20 or more home wins in four of the past five years, and at least 40 wins in four consecutive seasons.

OREGON 5, UCLA 4 — At Los Angeles, Oregon's bullpen threw nearly a complete game of scoreless relief and Nick Catalano drove in the winning run in the 11th inning, giving the Ducks a win at UCLA and their first Pac-12 road sweep of the season.

The UO baseball team (40-16, 17-10 Pac-12) rallied back from a 4-1 deficit to remain in a third-place tie with Arizona State in the conference. Oregon hosts Oregon State in a nonconference game Tuesday and California for a three-game series at PK Park beginning Thursday, with all four games starting at 7 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks.

Catalano's second hit Sunday drove in Mitchell Tolman with the game-winning run, off reigning Pac-12 pitcher of the year David Berg. Tolman reached with his second hit of the game to start the 11th, then was bunted to second by conference home run leader Shaun Chase before coming around to score.

Garrett Cleavinger (3-1) got the final four outs to earn the win, capping a remarkable afternoon by the UO bullpen. After UCLA took a 4-1 lead in the third off UO starter Brando Tessar, Oregon relievers threw 82/3 innings of shutout baseball to keep the Ducks' comeback bid alive.

Trent Paddon relieved Tessar, and was followed by Jordan Spencer, Stephen Nogosek and Cleavinger out of the 'pen.

Tyler Baumgartner tied the game 1-1 with an RBI single in the third that scored Desmond Santos. Shortstop Mark Karaviotis drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and later scored Catalano on a groundball out that capped Oregon's two-run seventh inning that tied the game again at 4-4.


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