OSU, BYU Match Fast Starts In Baseball Series

March 27, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A pair of teams off to fast starts will get together early this week when No. 23 Oregon State hosts Brigham Young in a two-game non-conference baseball series at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The Beavers (19-4 overall) and Cougars (17-5-1, 5-1 Mountain West) will play Monday at 5 p.m. and Tuesday at 1 p.m.; both games can be heard on KEJO-AM (1240) and www.osubeavers.com.

Oregon State will be playing its last games before starting Pacific-10 play against California in a series Friday through Sunday at the Beavers' ballpark. The Golden Bears are in sole possession of the Pac-10 lead after sweeping Washington State in the opening series of conference play.

OSU was in all four national rankings last week, at No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, No. 18 by Baseball America magazine, at No. 28 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, and at No. 14 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Last week, OSU won at Portland and then took two of three games from Dallas Baptist. New national rankings will be released on Monday and Tuesday.

Oregon State got a big week from junior outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who batted .533 (8-for-15) with two homers, three doubles, seven runs batted in, five runs and was 2-for-3 on stolen bases. On of his homers was the Beavers' first grand slam of the season.

When Ellsbury stole a pair of bases in the final game of a series against Dallas Baptist on Friday, it gave him 47 for his career and moved him into sole possession of third place on the Beavers' all-time list of career leaders. The man he passed? Steve Lyons, now a broadcaster for Fox Sports, who stole 46 bases for OSU from 1979-81.

Currently, Ellsbury is batting .426 with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs, 20 RBIs, 19 runs, a .660 slugging percentage, a .505 on-base percentage, and is 13-for-18 stolen bases. Teammate Andy Jenkins, a junior first baseman, is batting .413 with five doubles, three homers and 19 runs batted in.

Against Brigham Young, the Beavers will send sophomore righthander Jonah Nickerson (4-0 record, 1.03 earned run average) and freshman righthander Daniel Turpen (0-0, 6.23) to the mound. BYU will counter with sophomore righthander Matthew Jensen (4-0, 5.03) and junior righthander Mitch Woolf (1-0, 4.30).

The Cougars have won six in a row and 14 of their last 15 games, and are coming off a home sweep of Utah by scores of 6-5, 7-2 and 5-3. Leaders at the plate for BYU have been junior catcher Casey Nelson (.404, 1 homer, 12 RBIs), junior first baseman Jeff Hiestand (.376, 5, 18), and freshman second baseman Sean McNaughton (.374, 9, 25).

Oregon State has an all-time record of 8-6 against Brigham Young in a series dating back to 1971, and the first 14 meetings have all taken place at neutral sites. The teams haven't met since 1995, when the Beavers pounded out a 19-3 win in Spokane, Wash.

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