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Wetzler Blanks UW, Beavers Win Series

Oregon State head coach Pat Casey:

Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler:

Oregon State catcher Logan Ice:

Oregon State infielder Caleb Hamilton:

Courtesy: OSU Sports Information

CORVALLIS, Ore.– 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 (351 1/3), breaking Ken Noble’s old mark of 348 2/3.

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.

Sunday’s crowd of 3,277 raised the weekend total to 9,909 and the season total to 65,062 in 23 openings, an average of 2,829 per date. The Beavers drew 2,032 or more fans to every home game, and at least 2,758 to every Pac-12 home game.

The Beavers play a nonleague contest at Oregon on Tuesday night and then go to Los Angeles for a Friday-Sunday series against USC that concludes the regular season.

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