ALSO SEE: PG College Top 25 | More Surprise tournament analysis | Ben Wetzler suspended
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Typically, college baseball teams aren’t dealt with one of the season’s greatest challenges the first and second weeks of the season.
But don’t tell that to head coach Pat Casey and the Oregon State Beavers.
The Beavers entered the season as the nation’s No. 3 team in the Perfect Game College Top 25. Then came the eve of the season, when the Beavers found out, officially, that left-handed pitcher and senior Ben Wetzler would not be making the two-weekend trip to Arizona with the rest of the team.
OSU was resilient the first weekend of the season, going 3-0 and using plenty of offense to take care of business, proving, at least that week, that it would be fine in the short-term without Wetzler.
Week two was a different story, as the Beavers entered the weekend with the tough chore of shutting down there very physical and hard-hitting lineups in Nebraska, Michigan State and Indiana. Only against Indiana did the Beavers show elite pitching, and ironically enough, it was with right-handed reliever Scott Schultz, who only was in the weekend rotation because of Wetzler’s 11-game suspension by the NCAA.
With Wetzler still out and facing potent offenses, the Beavers crawled their way to a 1-2 finish in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge at Surprise Stadium, allowing nine runs to Nebraska in the opening game, while Michigan State slugged out eight runs on 13 hits in a thrilling 8-7 victory.
The silver lining in all this is two-fold: The Beavers will get Wetzler back next weekend against Wright State, and they finished the weekend with a dominant 8-1 win over Indiana.
“I’m really pleased with the way we ended the weekend. We’re obviously pleased with Scott Schultz,” Oregon State head coach Pat Casey said. “We were in a tough situation taking some guys out of the bullpen and making them starters, and we created some of our own problems in the process.
“We know people want to beat us, and they should, and our guys always have to be prepared for that,” he continued. “With that said, overall, I think we’re going to get much better after this weekend.”
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