Beavers Set For Opening Day

Jan. 28, 2002

JANUARY 31, THURSDAY - FEBRUARY 2, SATURDAY

Oregon State at Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic, Mesa, Ariz. (HoHoKam Park)

JANUARY 31, THURSDAY

Oregon State at Arizona State (No. 18 Baseball America/No. 20 Collegiate Baseball), 3 p.m.

FEBRUARY 1, FRIDAY

Oregon State vs. Oral Roberts (No. 31 Collegiate Baseball), 11 a.m.

FEBRUARY 2, SATURDAY

Oregon State vs. Southern Utah, 10 a.m.

NOTE: KLOO-AM (1340) will once again broadcast Oregon State baseball this season. The broadcast schedule begins with the Feb. 16 game against Western Kentucky and the Feb. 17 game at San Diego State.

This weekend, OSU fans can follow the Beavers via a 'live stats' posting on the Arizona State website at www.TheSunDevils.com - the play-by-play for all three OSU games will be shown live on this internet site.

There's snow place like home, so head for the sunshine.

That's what Oregon State will do this weekend when the Beavers open their 93rd season of varsity baseball. With Goss Stadium at Coleman Field covered with snow on Monday morning, OSU was anticipating its trip to Arizona State's Ben Kajikawa Baseball Classic.

'You always look forward to the start of the season,' OSU head coach Pat Casey said. 'You've done all that work over the summer, fall and winter to get ready for the spring, and you want to see what you'll be able to do, what type of team you're going to be.

'And for us, it will be great to get outside again. We're blessed with a terrific place to practice, but getting outdoors will give our guys a bit of a boost.'

The Beavers have been holding their drills in OSU's new Merritt Truax Indoor Center. The move from old McAlexander Fieldhouse has allowed OSU to accomplish more in its early-season workouts.

'It's a tremendous jump,' Casey said of the switch to the larger building, which opened last fall. 'We can do more work on baserunning, hitting the cutoff man, taking some flyballs ... it's doubled the number of batting cages we used to have available.

'It's really opened up some things we can do when we have to go indoors, and it's allowed us to get a lot more done in the same amount of time.'

This weekend's tournament will be held at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs. ASU's Packard Stadium is undergoing renovations this season, the Beavers will also meet the Sun Devils at HoHoKam Park in the final series of the regular season.

Arizona State, ranked No. 18 by Baseball America magazine and No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper in the preseason, defeated a team of Sun Devil alums 9-3 on Saturday. ASU was picked to finish third in the preseason poll of Pacific-10 coaches, OSU was picked seventh.

'Any time you play Arizona State, you're playing one of the nation's top programs,' Casey said. 'It's a great challenge for our guys and it's one they're looking forward to.'

Oral Roberts, a member of the Mid-Continent Conference, went 48-13 a year ago and won its conference title with a 24-1 record before losing two straight in the NCAA Regional held at Southern California. The Eagles have 19 lettermen returning, including nine starters, and are ranked No. 31 in the preseason by Collegiate Baseball.

Southern Utah, another Mid-Continent member, went 23-37 last season and placed second in the conference with a 19-9 record. The Thunderbirds return just eight lettermen, including three starters.

'Those are two teams that were at the top of their conference last season, so they know how to win,' Casey said.

What to expect from the 2002 Beavers?

Start with four returning starters from a lineup that averaged over seven runs per game last season. Add several pitchers needing seasoning but brimming with potential. Then toss in a bushel of newcomers eager to show they belong in one of the nation's top conferences. Blend that mixture with a strong work ethic and competitive drive.

That's the recipe Oregon State's baseball team will use to be competitive in the Pacific-10.

'I think we have the ability to score some runs,' Casey said. 'This group has worked very hard to improve as a team. We have some offensive returners that had big years for us last year. This is a club that's looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Pac-10.'

The Beavers have some big holes to fill from the 2001 club that went 31-24 overall and 11-13 in the Pac-10 to finish in sixth place. OSU has 17 lettermen returning but must replace some key components.

'Our concern is losing our No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers, with Scott Nicholson being an All-American and Thad Johnson being a guy who kept us in games all year long,' Casey said. 'And the presence of (catcher) Bryan Ingram, (second baseman Zach) Gordon and (centerfielder) Eric Stark up the middle, plus (rightfielder) Josh Carter - we need to find a way to replace those people.'

The Beavers can start building a potent lineup around outfielder Chris Biles, third baseman Brian Barden, shortstop Will Hudson and first baseman Andy Jarvis.

Biles was an All-Pac-10 and All-West Region selection in 2001, batting .395 with nine homers and 48 runs batted in, Barden was All-Pac-10 after hitting .367 with eight homers and a team-high 55 RBIs. Hudson bumped his batting average to .287 last season with two homers and 23 RBIs while Jarvis batted .290 with a team-high 12 homers and 48 RBIs.

At catcher, the Beavers will turn to sophomore Paul Richie, who showed strong defensive abilities as a freshman, or junior Wick Udy, who helped Dixie (Utah) to a runner-up finish in the Junior College World Series by batting .344 with two homers and 26 RBIs.

At second base, the Beavers again have a sophomore and a transfer vying for time. Kerisi Reynolds batted .280 in his first season at OSU, Tom Creighton transfers from Fresno State for his senior season after starting and batting leadoff for the Bulldogs, hitting .360 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 2001.

In the outfield, Biles will likely move from left to right. Freshman Zach Woodward is the frontrunner in centerfield after batting .400 with two homers in his final prep season, leftfield will likely be manned by sophomore Seth Pietsch or junior Aaron Fausett. Pietsch batted .265 with two homers in his initial OSU season, while Fausett is a former Freshman All-America pick who redshirted in 2001.

The designated hitter could be Fausett, senior Jason McBride or senior Pat Stevens. McBride hit .328 with three homers and 14 RBIs a year ago while Stevens batted .333.

On the mound, junior righthander Stephen Copeland will anchor the rotation after spending last season splitting time between starting and relieving, he was 3-4 with five saves. Sophomore righthander Ben Rowe is also penciled into the rotation after going 2-1 in 2001 as a 17-year-old.

Both Copeland and Rowe will benefit from having spent last summer in the Cape Cod League, OSU also sent Barden, Hudson, Jarvis and junior lefthander Mark McLemore to the prestigious summer circuit.

The other starting spot and the closer role will likely be split between junior college transfers Joshua Garcia and Jared Sanders. Garcia, a junior righthander, was 8-1 with a 2.64 earned run average for Cosumnes River (Calif.), Sanders, a sophomore righthander, was 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA for Mt. Hood (Ore.).

Senior lefty Craig Hays, sophomore lefthander Jake Postlewait and McLemore lend experience to a bullpen that will rely on newcomers to make a contribution.

'We're going to use some people without Division I experience, both on the mound and as position players,' Casey said. 'Those players need game time and experience to prepare for a tough conference schedule.'

The Beavers will play a school-record 27 home games at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, including series against Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Cal State-Northridge, Hawai'i-Hilo and Gonzaga.

'We're really starting to see the effects of having a first-class facility,' Casey said. 'We're able to get more people to come in and play us, and we're not having to spend as many weekends going on the road. The improvements to this ballpark have really helped us in attracting players and fans - and new opponents - and that's had a definite impact on the quality of our play.'

OREGON STATE PROBABLE LINEUP:

C - Paul Richie, so., Kelso, Wash. (Kelso HS),

.200, 1 HR, 2 RBIs in 2001

or - Wick Udy, jr., Brigham City, Utah (Dixie JC)

1B - Andy Jarvis, jr., Renton, Wash. (Liberty HS),

.290, 12 HRs, 48 RBIs in 2001

2B - Tom Creighton, sr., Weldon, Calif. (Fresno State U.)

or - Kerisi Reynolds, so., Renton, Wash. (Liberty HS),

.280, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs in 2001

3B - Brian Barden, jr., Bonita, Calif. (St. Augustine HS),

.367, 8 HRs, 55 RBIs in 2001

SS - Will Hudson, jr., Fountain Valley, Calif. (Fountain Valley HS),

.287, 2 HRs, 23 RBIs in 2001

LF - Seth Pietsch, so., Wilderville, Ore. (Hidden Valley HS),

.265, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs in 2001

or - Aaron Fausett, jr., Beaverton, Ore. (U. of Southern California)

CF - Zach Woodward, fr., Woodinville, Wash. (Woodinville HS)

RF - Chris Biles, so., Tigard, Ore. (Tigard HS),

.395, 9 HRs, 48 RBIs in 2001

DH - Jason McBride, sr., Bellingham, Wash. (Lower Columbia CC),

.328, 3 HRs, 14 RBIs in 2001

or - Pat Stevens, sr., Eugene, Ore. (Chapman U.),

.333, 0 HRs, 9 RBIs in 2001

(Tentative pitching rotation)

RHP - Joshua Garcia, jr., Vacaville, Calif. (Cosumnes River JC)

RHP - Stephen Copeland, jr., Keizer, Ore. (McNary HS),

3-4 record, 5 saves, 6.99 ERA in 2001

RHP - Ben Rowe, so., Perth, Australia (Greenwood HS),

2-1 record, 6.51 ERA in 2001

ALL-TIME VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Oregon State has an all-time record of 12-18 against Arizona State in a series dating back to 1963. Last season in Corvallis, OSU took a Pac-10 series from ASU, losing the opener 10-2 and then coming back to win 4-1 and 12-2. The teams last met at ASU in 2000, with ASU winning the opener 1-0, OSU winning 11-3 and ASU winning 8-7.

Oregon State has an all-time record of 3-3 against Oral Roberts in a series dating back to 1978. The teams last met in 1997, with OSU sweeping a 2-game series in Tulsa by scores of 20-5 and 8-2. The Eagles' last win was in 1984, a 6-0 victory at the Riverside Baseball Invitational.

Oregon State has an all-time record of 2-0 against Southern Utah, with both games played in 1992. The Beavers won 8-2 and 10-1 at the Coors Desert Classic in Las Vegas.

2001 IN REVIEW: It was as close as you can get.

Just one run against the nation's second-ranked team on the final day of the season likely separated Oregon State from a trip to an NCAA regional. The Beavers (31-24 overall, 11-13 Pacific-10) carried their postseason hopes into the last game of 2001, but a 1-0 loss to conference champion Southern California dashed OSU's chances of playing further into the spring.

'It was a tough way to end the year, but we played a great series against what might be the very best team in the country,' said OSU coach Pat Casey, whose team took the Trojans into extra innings in the Beavers' other loss in the season-ending series. 'We really played at a peak level in the last three games. Sometimes you get through with a series like that and go back and wonder what if you'd done this or done that differently, but I didn't have that feeling after that series.

'We left everything on the field, and I'm proud of this team.'

There was a lot regarding the 2001 season for Oregon State to be proud of:

* The Beavers reached the 30-win plateau for the fourth time in the last six seasons.

* OSU improved its overall record by three games over the 2000 season.

* Oregon State improved its Pac-10 record by two games over 2000, posting OSU's best conference record since the Northern and Southern Divisions combined in 1999.

* The Beavers had five wins over teams ranked in the final Baseball Weekly/ESPN coaches poll of the regular season, and five more wins over teams that received votes but didn't make the top 25.

* OSU reached as high as 28th in the national polls during the season.

* Oregon State went 10-9 against teams that received berths in NCAA regionals.

* The Beavers were outstanding in their home ballpark, going 18-7 at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.

* In the Pacific-10 standings, OSU finished ahead of Pacific Northwest rivals Washington and Washington State for the second straight season.

'This group accomplished a lot,' said Casey, who was in his seventh season with the Beavers. 'You look back on the past four months, and I think you've got to say that we had a good season. We didn't quite get to the ultimate goal - a regional - but this team took a lot of steps forward for our program.

'We were very competitive in what could well be the best conference in the country, we had more and more players prove to themselves and other people that they can perform at this level, and we were in the hunt to get into the postseason right down to the final inning of the year. We beat some great teams and we played in some great ballgames, and it was an exciting season.

'Now we have to go out and keep working to take some more steps next spring. Our guys should have seen over the last year that we're starting to really make an impact in this conference, and that will be something to keep driving us.'

The Beavers had plenty of individual accomplishments, as well:

* Pitcher Scott Nicholson was named to the Louisville Slugger All-America squad, being picked to the third team.

* Nicholson, catcher Bryan Ingram, third baseman Brian Barden and outfielder Chris Biles were named to the All-Pacific-10 team. Designated hitter Curtis Davis, pitcher Thad Johnson and outfielder Josh Carter earned honorable mention.

* Nicholson went 11-2, tying for the second-most wins ever in a season by an OSU pitcher. He set a school record for innings pitched (130 2/3), and finished tied for fourth on OSU's all-time list of single-season leaders for shutouts (three) and complete games (10). He also finished his career with a 4-1 record against top-five teams.

* Barden set OSU's records for hits (83) and at-bats (226) in a season, and he was among the Pac-10 leaders in runs (sixth), hits (tied for fourth), RBIs (tied for seventh) and total bases (tied for eighth).

* Carter put together one of the longest hitting streaks in school history, a 26-gamer over the 2000 and 2001 seasons. That streak included the first 19 games of this season.

* First baseman Andy Jarvis was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week for his five-homer, 13-RBI week against Washington and Washington State from March 5-11.

* Jarvis, Ingram, Nicholson and Barden all earned Pacific-10 Player of the Week or Pitcher of the Week honors during the season, with Nicholson being named twice.

* Second baseman Zach Gordon earned a Pacific-10 Conference Postgraduate Scholarship.

OREGON STATE ON OPENING DAY: Oregon State has made a habit of winning on Opening Day. Since starting varsity baseball in 1907, the Beavers have a 65-27 record in season-openers and OSU has won 11 of its last 15 on Opening Day. Last year was an exception, as the Beavers fell to Cal State-Northridge 17-7 to open the 2001 season.

Incidentally, the Jan. 31 start is the earliest-ever opening to an OSU baseball season. Last year's Feb. 2 opener had been the earliest in Beaver baseball history.

ALL-AMERICAN CANDIDATE BRIAN BARDEN: Oregon State junior third baseman Brian Barden (Bonita, Calif./St. Augustine HS) enters the spring having proven himself as one of the Pacific-10's top players over the past 2 seasons, and he continues to improve as an all-around player.

Baseball America magazine's preseason picks rated Barden as the best defensive third baseman in the Pacific-10 Conference, and Barden was an all-conference selection in both his freshman and sophomore years. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder set the OSU school record for hits (83) while batting .367 with 8 homers, 2 triples, 11 doubles and 55 runs batted in.

OREGON STATE HEAD COACH PAT CASEY: Pat Casey enters his eighth season at OSU with a record of 208-152-4 with the Beavers for a winning percentage of .577. Only Ralph Coleman (1923-28, 1930-31, 1938-66) and Jack Riley (1973-94) have coached more baseball wins at OSU.

Casey's career record is 379-265-5, which includes 7 years at George Fox University in Newberg, for a winning percentage of .588.

Casey was named the Pacific-10 Northern Division Coach of the Year in 1997 after leading the Beavers to a 38-12-1 mark, a school record for wins in a regular season.

During Casey's time at OSU, the Beavers have had 16 players drafted by Major League Baseball teams and had 4 more players sign as free agents.

Casey came to OSU from his alma mater, George Fox, after leading the Bruins to a 171-113-1 record and winning 3 NAIA District 2 titles at the school in Newberg, Ore.

OREGON STATE VS. RANKED TEAMS: Oregon State's 2002 schedule includes 23 games against teams ranked by Baseball America magazine and Collegiate Baseball newspaper in their preseason polls. Baseball America posts a top 25 and Collegiate Baseball a top 40.

OREGON STATE'S ALL-TIME RECORD: Oregon State's all-time record in varsity baseball is now 1,691-1,165-15, a winning percentage of .592. OSU's all-time record in conference games is now 760-546, a winning percentage of .582.

To break the numbers down a step further, since starting varsity baseball in 1907, the Beavers have scored 18,751 runs and allowed 14,416 runs. That's an average score of 6.53-5.02.

In its 92 seasons of varsity baseball prior to 2002, OSU has had 69 winning seasons, the Beavers finished at .500 another 4 seasons. The Beavers have won 20 pennants through the years. Oregon State began fielding a varsity baseball team in 1907 and has failed to field a team only 3 times since then - in 1917 due to World War I and in 1944 and 1945 due to World War II.

GOSS STADIUM AT COLEMAN FIELD: Oregon State has been playing on the same site since starting varsity baseball in 1907, making Goss Stadium at Coleman Field the oldest diamond in the Pacific-10 and one of the oldest in the country.

In 92 seasons at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, the Beavers are 883-378-1 all-time at home for a winning percentage of .700. Oregon State was 18-7 at home in 2001. Since the start of the 1993 season, OSU is 132-49 at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field for a winning percentage of .729.

Goss Stadium was added to Coleman Field over the winter of 1998-99. The ballpark holds 2,000 fans, with the main grandstand seating 1,500 of those. The structure includes a press box, concession/lobby area, dugouts, locker rooms, restrooms and storage areas.The playing surface has been completely rebuilt recently, with the infield undergoing renovation in 1996 and the outfield in 1998.

1952 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES TEAM: This spring, Oregon State is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beavers' 1952 College World Series team. That season, Oregon State won the Northern Division title, defeated Southern California for the Pacific Coast Conference title, and beat Fresno State for the West Regional title and a trip to Omaha. The 1952 Beavers will be honored during the final home series of the season, May 17-19 against Washington.

OREGON STATE DUGOUT CLUB: The Oregon State Dugout Club is an organization devoted to supporting Beaver Baseball. The group is open to the general public, dues are $75 per year.

Also, anyone entering the OSU Dugout Club Golf Tournament automatically gains membership. This year's tournament will be held June 24 at Tokatee Golf Club in Blue River.

For more information on the OSU Dugout Club, call (541) 737-2825.

OREGON STATE BASEBALL TICKETS: Season tickets for Oregon State baseball are $121 and guarantee ticketholders the same seat for all 27 Beaver home games in 2002. OSU's schedule includes home series against Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Arizona, Washington State, Cal State-Northridge, Hawai'i-Hilo and Gonzaga and a pair of single games against Portland.

The Family Plan is good for general admission for 2 adults and 2 students to all 27 home games, and the cost is $121.

There are also several partial season-ticket plans available. The Pac-10 Plan includes a reserved seat to 3-game Pac-10 series against Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Arizona and costs $48 for the 12 games.

The Sunday Special includes a reserved seat ticket to all 7 Sunday home games and costs $28.

The California Gold Rush includes 3-game series against Stanford, UCLA and Cal State-Northridge, the Evergreen State Special includes 3-game series against Washington, Washington State and Gonzaga, both those plans cost $36 each for a reserved seat to all 9 games.

Single-game reserved tickets are $6. General admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students, OSU students are admitted free with their OSU identification.

For groups of 10 or more wanting to spend a day at the ballpark, there is a group rate of $2 per person for general admission tickets, those wishing to take advantage of this offer must make arrangements in advance with the OSU athletic ticket office.

For more information, call the OSU athletic ticket office at 1-800-GO BEAVS.

OREGON STATE RADIO BROADCASTS: Oregon State baseball will again be broadcast this spring on KLOO-AM (1340) in Corvallis, with most of the Beaver schedule on the air. The broadcast schedule begins with the Feb. 16 game against Western Kentucky and the Feb. 17 game at San Diego State. Mike Parker, the voice of the Beavers, will handle play-by-play duties with help from Kip Carlson. The games on the broadcast schedule can also heard on the internet at www.osubeavers.com

TELEVISION BRINGS OUT BEST IN BEAVERS: Oregon State will play several games on Fox Sports Net this spring. Exact dates and opponents are to be announced.

Oregon State has played on national cable television each of the last 4 seasons, and the Beavers were 3-1 in those games including a 3-0 mark at home. Since Fox Sports Net (formerly Prime Sports) began televising games in 1990, Oregon State has a 28-14 record in televised games, including 8-2 in national TV games.

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