CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ben Wetzler scattered four hits and a run in a complete-game effort and Danny Hayes drove in three to send the Oregon State baseball team to a 6-1 win over Texas A&M Sunday at Goss Stadium. With the victory, OSU claims the Corvallis Regional Championship and advances to an NCAA Super Regional matchup with Kansas State.
The super regional appearance will mark the fifth in the program’s history and fourth that will be played at Goss Stadium. OSU advanced to the College World Series with wins in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The Beavers’ (48-10 overall) most recent super regional appearance was in Nashville in 2011.
Wetzler threw 121 pitches in his second complete game of the season. His lone blemish came in the first on a triple by Cole Lankford, but the lefty settled down and gave up just three hits the rest of the game.
He struck out 10, tying a career-high, and walked four to win his eighth game of the season. Wetzler, a native of Clackamas, Ore., was named to the Corvallis Regional All-Tournament Team.
Hayes broke a 1-1 deadlock in the seventh with a double down the right field line that narrowly eluded the glove of Lankford at first. It drove in two, and put the Beavers ahead for good.
Hayes added an RBI with a single in the ninth. Ryan Barnes and Kavin Keyes finished the inning with run-scoring singles that gave the Beavers insurance runs.
Hayes finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBI. Barnes led the Beavers with three hits, extending his hit streak to 10 games. Tyler Smith, Michael Conforto and Jake Rodriguez all had two hits for Oregon State, which finished with 14 on the day.
Dylan Davis, who had one hit Sunday, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the regional. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Wetzler, Barnes, Rodriguez, Andrew Moore and Andy Peterson.
Texas A&M’s Lankford, Hunter Melton and Mikey Reynolds and UC Santa Barbara’s Luke Swenson and Joey Epperson rounded out the all-tournament team.
Grayson Long started for the Aggies (34-29) and worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and one run while striking out three. He did not figure in the decision after the loss went to Texas A&M’s Jason Jester, who gave up two runs and four hits in 2 1/3 innings and dropped to 3-4 on the year.
The Beavers will take on Kansas State in the NCAA Super Regional, which will start either Friday or Saturday and be played at Goss Stadium. The Wildcats defeated Arkansas Sunday and went 3-0 in the Manhattan Regional to advance.
Post Game Quotes
Oregon State Head Coach Pat Casey
“I thought we played well, we swung the bat well and Benny Wetzler was really, really good. The one thing that (Texas A&M) Coach Childress said was, ‘I can’t believe how well you guys play together.’ I don’t think there is a better compliment other than that to our kids. He could have easily said you guys have some talent or I like your arms but he didn’t say any of that. He just said, ‘You guys play so well together’. As a coach that is probably as big of a compliment as I could get from a guy that I have so much respect for.”
On how playing a tough Pac-12 schedule prepared his team for NCAA postseason play…
“I think if you play 30 games within the Pac-12 in baseball, not only are you worn and weathered out but you have played some of the best baseball in the country. In particular, I think the pitching in our conference is really good and I think it is at times a bit overlooked. The ACC and SEC get a lot of publicity because they get a few more games on TV and I think they are great conferences but the Pac-12 is equally as strong, so any time you go through the conference like that it gets you prepared.”
On starting pitcher Ben Wetzler’s performance…
“He was pretty good. He threw 92, 94 (MPH) in the ninth and I was wondering who he was going to hit first, me or (assistant coach) Nate (Yeskie) if we pulled him in the ninth. (Beaver play-by-play voice) Mike Parker asked me in the pre-game show if I had to say one thing about Benny Wetzler, what would it be? I said it is easy to say the guy has good stuff but he is just such a competitor and I think that separates him from a lot of other guys who have good stuff.”
Oregon State Pitcher Ben Wetzler
On his performance, starting for the Beavers…
“It started off pretty rough but as soon as I got the ball down , things started to change a little bit for me, and then Max (Gordon) goes out there and makes a SportsCenter Top 10 type of catch again, so it is just a team effort. Everybody made plays and I just tried to do my part.”
On the momentum Max Gordon’s diving catch gave his team…
“We definitely feed off of each other. When someone does something extra ordinary it kind of gives us a little bit of energy and that kind of spring loads us into our offense and that is what we try to do. We try to have our defense feed off of our offense and our offense feed off of our defense.”
Oregon State first baseman Danny Hayes
On the closeness of his team…
“We definitely don’t have any individuals on this team. We work together and when one guy has a rough day, the guy behind him picks him up. We’ve had guys who have been big all year, (Ryan) Barnes, Dylan (Davis), (Michael) Conforto. We have (Tyler) Smith, so we have a great group of guys who all love each other and we are there to pick each other up. We have a special group. I don’t think I have ever played with a team as special as this and we are going to focus on next weekend, come out ready to play and see how far we can roll with this thing.”
On his team’s subdued celebration following the final out…
“We are not done yet. We all have one goal in our minds and we are not going to be satisfied until we reach that goal, so we will take this win. It was nice not having to come back tomorrow and play, so we can get ready to go next weekend at home (in the Super Regional vs. Kansas State).”