Beavers Set For Home Opener

Feb. 27, 2002


Gonzaga at Oregon State, 2 p.m.


Gonzaga at Oregon State, 1 p.m.


Gonzaga at Oregon State, 1 p.m.

The sunny weather has made it seem like spring in Corvallis this week, and another sign of spring arrives this weekend - Oregon State (6-6 overall, 0-0 Pacific-10) plays its baseball home-opener with a three-game series against Gonzaga (5-5, 0-0 West Coast) at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The non-league contests begin Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

For the Beavers, their home ballpark will be a welcome sight after spending the past four weekends on the road.

'It'll be nice to play a ballgame without having to get on a bus or a plane first,' OSU head coach Pat Casey said. 'But we did what we needed to do in February - play good competition and get through it with a .500 record. We had a decent month and we got a lot accomplished.

'We found some guys who can pitch for us and some guys who are going to be able to play for us. We've got a lot better idea of who we are as a ballclub and what we have to do to be successful.'

Oregon State wrapped up its month-long trek by going 3-2 last week, including a 2-1 record and second-place finish in the Riverside Baseball Invitational. In the last two games of its trip, the Beavers had 22 runs on 35 hits in beating San Francisco 9-6 and Michigan 13-2.

'Our guys started putting a few things together at the plate in those last two games,' Casey said. 'We looked a little more like the offensive club I thought we'd be. Defensively, we're improving but we've got to get a lot better. Pitching-wise, I think we've had some people show us that they're going to be able to compete very well at this level if they keep working at it.'

Righthanders Stephen Copeland and Ben Rowe, OSU's top two starters going into the season, both put together outstanding starts to earn wins on the Beavers' last trip and lefthander Mark McLemore didn't earn a decision but was dominating for four innings against San Francisco.

'If those guys can give us that kind of start consistently, we're going to be all right,' Casey said. 'And (righthander) Joshua Garcia has the kind of ability to be able to pitch at this level, he's just got to go out and show it. In the pen, Ty Kline, Jake Postlewait, Mike Ekstrom, Jared Sanders and some others look like they're capable of getting the job done for us.

'If we play some defense behind them and keep hitting the way we did the past few games, we've got a chance to be a very solid team.' This weekend's series starts a home schedule that includes a school-record 27 games at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Some of those will be the first-ever night games at the Beaver ballpark after work is finished on installing lights made possible by a gift from Bert and Shirley Babb.

After Gonzaga, it will be Portland, Washington State, Cal State-Northridge, Arizona, Hawai'i-Hilo, UCLA, Stanford and Washington visiting the Beaver ballpark.

'We've finally gotten to where just about half our games are at home, and playing some of those at night,' Casey said. 'It's a big help to our program to be able to bring people to our ballpark to play. Now that we're through the month of February, we're at home most of the rest of the way, we've got to keep getting better and we'll be able to take advantage of that.'

A reminder to fans that construction of the expansion of OSU's Dixon Recreation Center and Stevens Natatorium has closed the walkway between Dixon and Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The ballpark's main gates must now be reached by walking down Waldo Place, either from central campus to the north or the Benton Place parking lot to the east (behind leftfield).

This weekend also marks the start of OSU's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the school's 1952 College World Series team. Pete Goodbrod, the captain of that Beaver club that beat Southern California and Fresno State in playoffs, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Friday's home-opener.

Gonzaga beat crosstown foe Whitworth, a Division III school, 9-8 last weekend in the Bulldogs' home opener, the second game of the series was rained out. That came after GU played its first three series of the season against Pacific-10 opponents, winning one of three games at both UCLA and California and taking two of three from Washington State in Pasco, Wash.

'That right there shows what kind of club they have,' Casey said. 'They're competing with Pac-10 teams and having pretty good success.'

The Bulldogs are scheduled to pitch freshman righthander Eric Dworkis (3-0 record, 0.00 earned run average) on Friday, senior lefthander Kyle Nearhood (0-0, 4.26) on Saturday and sophomore lefty Errol Simonitsch (0-1, 11.00) on Sunday. At the plate, GU has been led by junior shortstop Danny Evans (.389 batting average, 1 home run, 3 runs batted in), senior outfielder Garth Blumberg (.381, 2, 7), senior outfielder Kevin Cave (.368, 0, 2) and junior outfielder Kemp Quackenbush (.364, 2, 8).


C - Paul Richie, so., Kelso, Wash. (Kelso HS),.214, 0 HRs, 6 RBIsor - Wick Udy, jr., Brigham City, Utah (Dixie JC).421, 0 HRs, 3 RBIs1B - Andy Jarvis, jr., Renton, Wash. (Liberty HS),.270, 0 HRs, 8 RBIs2B - Tom Creighton, sr., Weldon, Calif. (Fresno State U.).392, 0 HRs, 7 RBIsor - Kerisi Reynolds, so., Renton, Wash. (Liberty HS),.244, 0 HRs, 8 RBIs3B - Brian Barden, jr., Bonita, Calif. (St. Augustine HS),.340, 2 HRs, 10 RBIsSS - Will Hudson, jr., Fountain Valley, Calif. (Fountain Valley HS),.293, 0 HRs, 6 RBIsLF - Seth Pietsch, so., Wilderville, Ore. (Hidden Valley HS),.370, 2 HRs, 8 RBIsCF - Zach Woodward, fr., Woodinville, Wash. (Woodinville HS).000, 0 HRs, 0 RBIsor - Tom Creighton, sr., Weldon, Calif. (Fresno State U.).392, 0 HRs, 7 RBIsRF - Chris Biles, so., Tigard, Ore. (Tigard HS),.349, 2 HRs, 7 RBIsDH - Jason McBride, sr., Bellingham, Wash. (Lower Columbia CC),.286, 0 HRs, 2 RBIsor - Aaron Fausett, jr., Beaverton, Ore. (U. of Southern California).238, 0 HRs, 2 RBIsor - Pat Stevens, sr., Eugene, Ore. (Chapman U.),.000, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs(Tentative pitching rotation)RHP - Ben Rowe, so.,  Perth, Australia (Greenwood HS),3-1 record, 2.25 ERARHP - Stephen Copeland, jr., Keizer, Ore. (McNary HS),1-0 record, 4.74 ERALHP-Mark McLemore, jr., Granite Bay, Calif. (Del Oro HS),0-0 record, 6.75 ERA

OREGON STATE NOTES: Through Oregon State's first dozen games of the 2002 season, the Beavers had won all 6 games they played on a neutral field and lost all 6 games they played on their opponents' home field ... OSU had a winning record in 3 of the season's first 4 weeks, the only exception was being swept in a 3-game series at San Diego ... sophomore outfielder Chris Biles had a 16-game hitting streak snapped in the Feb. 25 game against Michigan. Biles had hit in each of the last 5 games of the 2001 season and the first 11 games of the 2002 campaign ... senior utility player Tom Creighton has a 9-game hitting streak ... Creighton leads the Beavers with 7 multi-hit games while sophomore outfielder Seth Pietsch and junior third baseman Brian Barden have 6 each and Biles has 4 ... Barden tops the Beavers with 3 multi-RBI games ... Barden, Creighton and Biles have all delivered a hit in 11 of 12 games this season ... freshman righthander Mike Ekstrom has allowed just one run in his last 5 appearances, covering 6.1 innings ... sophomore righthander Jared Sanders hasn't allowed an earned run in 6 of his 7 appearances, junior righthander Ty Kline hasn't allowed a run in 3 of his 4 appearances ... OSU is batting .304 and its opponents are batting .293, but the discrepancy grows when more is on the line. With runners on base, the Beavers are batting .330 and their opponents .302, with runners in scoring position, the Beavers are batting .362 and their opponents .294 ... last week, OSU batted .346 and its opponents hit .290, on the 4-game trip to Riverside, the marks were .362 and .283 ... toss out the 21-4 loss to California-Riverside, and OSU's team ERA this season drops from 6.38 to 5.02 ... throw that game out of OSU's stats for last week, and the Beaver team ERA for the five games drops from 7.53 to 4.11 ... this week's Beaver birthday: sophomore utility player Levi Webber turns 20 on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

ALL-TIME VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Oregon State has an all-time record of 53-26 against Gonzaga in a series dating back to 1919, and OSU has won 5 of the last 6 meetings. Last season, the Beavers swept a midweek series in Corvallis, winning 12-6 and 10-9. Gonzaga's latest win came during the 1999 season when the teams split a non-league series played in Keizer, Ore., the Bulldogs won the first game 5-3 and the Beavers took the second game 16-15.

OREGON STATE IN HOME OPENERS: Oregon State has been tough in home-openers since it began varsity baseball in 1907. The Beavers have an all-time record of 74-18 in home-openers after last year's 9-0 win over Portland on Opening Day at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. OSU has won 13 of its last 14 home-openers and 28 of its last 31.

LAST WEEK: Oregon State went 3-2 last week. The Beavers lost 5-4 at Portland on Feb. 19 before heading to the Riverside Baseball Invitational. At the tournament, OSU placed second after beating Michigan 10-4 on Feb. 22, losing to host California-Riverside 21-4 on Feb. 23 and beating San Francisco 9-6 on Feb. 24. The Beavers finished their trip by topping Michigan 13-2 on Feb. 25.

On Feb. 19, Oregon State's ninth-inning rally fell short in a 5-4 loss at Portland. The Beavers pushed across a run and had the bases loaded when the game ended. Portland had taken the lead with 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth, the Beavers had earlier rallied from a 2-0 deficit to lead 3-2. Seth Pietsch and Jason McBride were both 2-for-4 for OSU. Jared Sanders took the pitching loss in relief.

On Feb. 22, Oregon State scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take control in a 10-4 win over Michigan. Ben Rowe earned his third win of the season, combining with three relievers on a 5-hitter. Kerisi Reynolds was 3-for-4 for OSU and Paul Richie, Brian Barden and Tom Creighton had 2 hits each for the Beavers.

On Feb. 23, Oregon State was in the game until California-Riverside scored 14 runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 21-4 win. OSU had taken a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and the Beavers scored on the game's very first pitch when Seth Pietsch homered to leftfield. Pietsch was 2-for-4 for the Beavers.

On Feb. 24, Oregon State rebounded for a 9-6 win over San Francisco. Paul Richie's 2-run double in the seventh inning put OSU in front for good at 7-5 as the Beavers came up with a season-high 18 hits, including 5 doubles and 2 triples. Mark McLemore was dominating for 4 innings but received no decision after the Dons scored 5 runs in the fifth for a 5-4 lead, Mike Ekstrom earned his first collegiate win in relief and Jared Sanders picked up his second save. Tom Creighton was 4-for-5 for the Beavers and Seth Pietsch had a double and a triple among his 3 hits as the Beavers scored in 8 of the 9 innings.

On Feb. 25, Kerisi Reynolds was 3-for-5 and drove in 5 runs as OSU beat Michigan 13-2. Oregon State scored 8 runs in the top of the sixth inning, then added 3 in the seventh. Brian Barden, Aaron Fausett and Will Hudson also had 3 hits each for the Beavers, but Chris Biles had his hitting streak stopped at 16 games. Stephen Copeland pitched 6 strong innings for his first win of the season.

ALL-AMERICAN CANDIDATE BRIAN BARDEN: Oregon State junior third baseman Brian Barden (Bonita, Calif./St. Augustine HS) got off to a quick start this spring, homering in each of OSU's first 2 games. He's currently batting .340 with 2 homers and a team-high 10 RBIs this spring, and he has a hit or a run batted in in all but 1 of OSU's games.

Barden has also moved into OSU's career top-10 lists in total bases (7th with 258) and RBIs (9th with 114), his next hit and his next home run will put him in the Beavers' all-time career top 10s in those categories, as well.

Barden entered 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 2002 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.

PIETSCH POWER: When sophomore leftfielder Seth Pietsch (Wilderville, Ore./Hidden Valley HS) doubled against Michigan on Feb. 25, he was just keeping in character. Pietsch has 17 hits this season, and 12 of those have gone for extra bases - 8 doubles, 2 triples and 2 homers. OSU's single-season record for doubles is 19, set by A.J. Marquardt in 1993 and tied by Joe Gerber in 2000, Pietsch is on pace to hit 37 teams. In Pietsch's career, he has 26 hits and 17 of them have gone for extra bases - 11 doubles, 2 triples and 4 homers.

OREGON STATE HEAD COACH PAT CASEY: Pat Casey, now in his eighth season at OSU, has a record of 214-158-4 with the Beavers for a winning percentage of .574. 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 385-271-5, which includes 7 years at George Fox University in Newberg, for a winning percentage of .586.

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, 16 Beavers have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams and 4 more players have signed 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 SCHEDULE: Oregon State's 2002 schedule includes 10 games against teams in the USA Today/Baseball Weekly coaches poll of Feb. 25: No. 2 Stanford (3 games), No. 15 Arizona State (4 games) and No. 20 Southern California (3 games). The Beavers' schedule includes another 13 games against teams receiving votes in the poll - Arizona (3 games), Cal State-Northridge (3 games), Washington (3 games), San Diego (3 games) and San Diego State (1 game).

RAIN ON THE ROAD: When Oregon State's game at San Diego State was rained out Feb. 17, it continued a weather role reversal that's been going on for the past five-plus seasons.

Since the start of the 1997 season, the Beavers have had 25 games either canceled or rescheduled due to rain. Of those, only 6 have been games at OSU's Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, 13 were at ballparks in California, Florida, Hawai'i or Texas. Another 6 were at ballparks elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

OSU has lost just 2 home games to rain during that time, while having 9 games canceled at sites outside the region and 3 called off at other Pacific Northwest ballparks. The Beavers have had to postpone 4 home games, 4 games at sites outside the region and 3 at other Pacific Northwest ballparks.

OSU may try to make up the game at San Diego State by adding it to a trip later this season.

STYKEL GOES FROM GROUNDSKEEPER TO MOUNDSMAN: In 2001, Don Stykel's pitching career appeared over due to arm problems and he was working on the grounds crew at OSU's Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. But on Feb. 1, he was credited with the pitching win as OSU earned its first win of 2002, a 10-9, 10-inning victory over Oral Roberts.

It was Stykel's first win since beating Portland on April 6, 1999 and his first appearance since going 1/3 of an inning against Washington on April 29, 2000.

'It was great to get back out here, even though I vultured the win from Postlewait - he deserved it, the way he threw,' said Stykel (Portland, Ore./Centennial HS), who spent last spring grooming the Beavers' home diamond while still going to school on a baseball scholarship. Starting late in the spring of 2000, he went a year without throwing a baseball.

'I missed the game so much - that was probably the longest year of my life,' Stykel said. 'But I just kept believing in myself, believing that I could do it.'

Last summer, after his workdays were done, Stykel would step onto a Coleman Field mound with a bag of baseballs and throw about 50 pitches into a net. OSU's coaches saw him and knew he wanted to come back, after doing some pitching in the fall, Stykel was invited to return to the roster this spring.

OREGON STATE'S ALL-TIME RECORD: Oregon State's all-time record in varsity baseball is now 1,697-1,171-15, a winning percentage of .591. 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 18,821 runs and allowed 14,492 runs. That's an average score of 6.53-5.03.

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.

Soon, the Beavers will be able to play night games at the ballpark for the first time ever. A donation this spring by longtime OSU boosters Bert and Shirley Babb has allowed OSU to erect lights at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Work will begin in February on installing the system, which will meet the standards for Triple-A professional teams.

Now in their 93rd season at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, the Beavers are 883-378-1 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.

A reminder to fans that the expansion of OSU's Dixon Recreation Center and Stevens Natatorium has closed the walkway between Dixon and Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The ballpark's main gates must now be reached by walking down Waldo Place, either from central campus to the north or the Benton Place parking lot to the east (behind leftfield).

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.

To commemorate the start of the 50th anniversary season, 1952 Oregon State team captain Pete Goodbrod will throw out the first pitch of OSU's home-opener against Gonzaga on March 1. The 1952 Beavers will hold a reunion and 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, with most of the Beaver schedule on KLOO-AM (1340). This week, no games will be broadcast due to conflicts with men's basketball broadcasts and potential conflicts with women's basketball broadcasts. Mike Parker, the voice of the Beavers, will handle play-by-play duties with help from Kip Carlson.

TELEVISION BRINGS OUT BEST IN BEAVERS: Oregon State game at California on May 11 will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net cable. The TV schedule for regional games has yet 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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