Beavers Earn Midseason Honors From Baseball America

April 12, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State was named the top surprise team in the nation and several Beavers earned individual honors in Baseball America magazine's midseason report. Sophomore righthander Dallas Buck (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS) was named the nation's top pitcher thus far, and he was joined on the midseason All-America first team by junior outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (Madras, Ore./Madras HS). Sophomore righthander Jonah Nickerson (Oregon City, Ore./Oregon City HS) was named to the second team.

In ranking the Beavers (26-5 overall, 5-1 Pacific-10) as the nation's top surprise team, Baseball America writer Will Kimmey noted OSU's jump from preseason predictions along with its outstanding pitching, adding: 'And despite a small state population, poor weather and defections of top prep talent to other programs, coach Pat Casey has assembled a roster of 23 Oregon natives that should challenge for the conference title.'

Baseball America projected OSU as one of six teams from the Pac-10 to reach the NCAA Regionals, joined by Arizona, Arizona State, Southern California, Stanford, Washington. OSU was also among its 16 schools projected to host a first-round regional along with Pac-10 members Arizona and Stanford.

Buck currently has a 7-0 record and 1.19 earned run average; in 60 2/3 innings, he has allowed 20 runs (8 earned) on 44 hits and 19 walks while striking out 73. Opponents are batting .201 against Buck, of whom Kimmey wrote: 'Those results were not entirely unexpected after the 6-foot-2 Buck led the Cape Cod League with a 0.77 ERA last summer by using his lively low-90s fastball and hard slider to devour hitters using wood bats.'

Ellsbury, who was also named the Pacific-10 Player of the Week on Tuesday, leads the Pac-10 batting race with a .461 batting average. He also leads the conference in on-base percentage (.549) and stolen bases (17); is second in hits (59); and is tied for second in slugging percentage (.703).

Nickerson has a 6-0 record and 1.21 ERA; in 52 innings, he has allowed 12 runs (7 earned) on 32 hits and 10 walks while striking out 64.

This week, OSU earned its highest-ever spot in the Baseball America rankings at No. 11 after taking two of three games at Stanford last weekend. OSU was also ranked No. 15 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, No. 11 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and No. 12 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.

OSU visits Pac-10 leader Arizona (24-10, 8-1) this weekend. Arizona is ranked No. 8 in both the coaches and writers polls, and No. 6 by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

Oregon State and Arizona will meet on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 12 noon; game time for the finale has been moved up one hour from previous schedules. All three games can be heard on KEJO-AM (1240) and www.osubeavers.com.

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