Beavers Sign Two Pitchers

Nov. 15, 2002

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State has signed two all-state pitchers from Oregon high schools to baseball letters of intent, OSU head coach Pat Casey announced Friday. Joining the Beavers next fall will be lefthander Kevin Gunderson (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic HS) and righthander Jonah Nickerson (Milwaukie, Ore./Oregon City HS).

The signings are the first of the fall signing period to be announced by OSU. The signing period continues through next Wednesday.

Nickerson was first team all-league and all-state last spring, while Gunderson was a first team all-league pick and a third-team all-state selection.

'Both these guys can come in and pitch as freshmen,' Casey said. 'They're quality kids who have been very successful, and that I feel could have pitched just about anywhere they wanted to go. I think both of them will be very successful at this level, and both of them have the ability to pitch immediately at this level.'

Gunderson was 11-1 with a 0.98 earned run average for Central Catholic last spring. In 64 innings, he allowed 44 hits while striking out 88 and walking just 11; he also batted .325 while also playing the outfield for the Rams.'Kevin reminds me a lot of (former OSU All-American) Scott Nicholson,' Casey said. 'He really knows how to pitch and he's a big competitor.'

Gunderson is familiar with OSU, as an older brother already attends the school. Also, Central Catholic head coach Darren Bland played for the Beavers in Casey's first season at Oregon State.

'Coach Bland gave me a lot of good insight about Coach Casey and the program, and I just felt it was the best fit for me,' Gunderson said. 'The coaches said they'd give me the opportunity to play, and that's all I could ask for. Oregon State's coaches pursued me very hard, and I liked that. I loved the coaching staff, and the ability for my family and friends to come and watch me play is a big thing.'

Nickerson was 9-2 last spring with a 1.77 ERA for Oregon City; in 76 innings, he allowed 65 hits while striking out 85 and walking 17. Also an outfielder, he batted .329 with seven homers and 32 RBIs for the Pioneers.

'Jonah has a chance to be a power pitcher,' Casey said. 'He's good enough now to come in and help us immediately.'

Nickerson selected OSU for its campus and the Beaver baseball program. He's considering studying education or sports medicine.

'He's a very dedicated worker as far as trying to get better in baseball,' Oregon City coach J.J. Winkle said. 'He loves baseball, and he wants to play at the highest level he can. He's an extreme team guy; he's not worried about himself, he's more worried about the team and he does what it takes to win. He's just an all-around easy guy to coach and he loves the game.'

OREGON STATE BASEBALL - FALL, 2002 SIGNINGSKevin Gunderson, LHP/CF; Portland, Ore. (Central Catholic HS)2002 statistics - 11-1 record, 0.98 ERA, 64.0 innings, 44 hits, 11 walks, 88 strikeouts;batted .325, 13 RBIs, 6 stolen basesFirst team all-league; third team all-stateJonah Nickerson, RHP; Milwaukie, Ore. (Oregon City HS)2002 statistics - 9-2 record, 1.77 ERA, 76.0 innings, 65 hits, 17 walks, 85 strikeouts;batted .329, 4 doubles, 7 homers, 32 RBIsFirst team all-league; first team all-state
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