Casey surprised by pitching dominance
Another week of dominant pitching has Oregon State off to a 17-1 start.
The Beavers, who own the best ERA in the country by far, will find out how good their arms really are this week when Arizona (15-4) visits Corvallis.
They're coming off their first road sweep against Arizona State since 1966, holding the Sun Devils to one run and striking out 31 over 27 innings.
"Well, we certainly have pitched very well and our defense had been a big part of that," Beavers coach Pat Casey wrote in a text message to The Associated Press on Monday. "I'm not sure if I've seen a staff be this consistent over that many games."
Oregon State leads the nation with its 1.06 ERA (Louisville is second at 1.75) and 5.3 hits allowed per nine innings. The Beavers are second with six shutouts, third with 2.0 walks per nine innings, and fourth with a 4.2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
No. 1 starter Luke Heimlich (4-0) has allowed one earned run in 36 2/3 innings (0.25 ERA) and No. 3 starter Jake Thompson has given up just four in 33 1/3 (1.08). No. 2 starter Bryce Fehmel, 10-1 with a 2.31 ERA as a freshman last season, is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA. The Beavers' other starter, Sam Tweedt, is 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA after missing 21 months because of Tommy John surgery.
Returning closer Max Engelbrekt has five saves, and the bullpen has combined to give up three runs over 44 1/3 innings (0.61).
Arizona, the national runner-up to Coastal Carolina in 2016, is first in the country with a .355 batting average and 10.4 runs per game. The Wildcats have four players batting .405 or better. Alfonso Rivas is batting .436, and Jared Oliva and JJ Matijevic share the national lead with 12 doubles.
A look around the country:
SEE YA, SEMINOLES
Oregon State (17-1) moved to the top of the D1Baseball.com rankings this week. Florida State (14-7), which rose to No. 1 last week, lost four of five games and dropped to No. 13.
The Beavers share the No. 1 spot with Louisville (19-0) in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll. Louisville has No. 1 to itself in Baseball America's poll.
Florida is 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play for the first time since 2009 after getting swept at Auburn. The Tigers, 23-33 overall and 8-22 in the SEC last season, have won seven straight and are 17-5 under second-year coach Butch Thompson. They finished the sweep of the Gators with a walk-off win when pinch runner JJ Shaffer scored on a sacrifice bunt by Jonah Todd and a throwing error. It was Auburn's first weekend sweep of Florida since 1987, and the Tigers are 3-0 in SEC play for the first time since 2010.
Kentucky accounted for the other big surprise in the SEC this past weekend. The Wildcats swept a conference road series for the first time since 2008 when they won three straight at Texas A&M. The Wildcats (15-6, 3-0) opened the series with Sean Hjelle's shutout and have won 15 of their last 17.
Texas Tech swept Texas for the first time in 43 all-time three-game series between the teams. The Red Raiders (17-4) have won their first three Big 12 games for the first time since 1999. In Sunday's 8-5 win, the Raiders collected 15 hits, with nine of them coming with two strikes, and their bullpen allowed one hit over five innings.
HOMERS TIMES THREE
Three players hit three home runs in their games Sunday. Houston's Jake Scheiner did it against Alabama State, Iowa's Jake Adams against Kansas State and Ohio State's Noah McGowan against Xavier.