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Wetzler, Conforto help Beavers stay alive

CORVALLIS — Oregon State's offense came out of its slumber and Ben Wetzler twirled a complete-game gem as the No. 2-ranked Beavers beat Nevada-Las Vegas 6-1 Sunday to stay alive in the Corvallis regional at Goss Stadium.

OSU (44-13), which had totaled 11 runs in its previous six outings, broke open the game with a five-run sixth inning, and Wetzler allowed only four hits with 10 strikeouts.

"We scored some runs, and 'Benny' was outstanding," Casey said.

Oregon State will send Scott Schultz to the mound in the next elimination game at 8 tonight against Cal Irvine. If the Beavers beat the Anteaters -- who clobbered them 14-2 Saturday night -- the teams will meet again Monday at 8 p.m. for the right to advance to the super regional.

The most meaningful single of Michael Conforto's stellar career was the catalyst for Oregon State's sixth-inning explosion.

Conforto -- who entered the game in a 4-for-31 slump -- laced a single to right field to open the pivotal sixth frame. As the junior left fielder rounded first, he looked into the crowd, raised both fists and smiled as the fans reacted with a loud ovation.

Maybe the hit brought some karma to the Beavers, whose next hitter, Dylan Davis, hit a routine ground ball to third base. But UNLV third baseman T.J. White booted the ball, threw wide to first and the Beavers wound up with runners on second and third.

That opened the floodgates. By the time the Men in Orange were through, they had sent 10 hitters to the plate and had five hits and five runs in the inning.

The fans' reaction to Conforto's hit "tells you what he means to our club," Casey said. "Everybody got excited, including some people in our dugout."

"It was a lift," Wetzler agreed. "Whatever was over us is gone. It's lifted. The guys were swinging it well today."

Oregon State hadn't scored four runs in a game since an 8-4 win over Portland on May 13. How did Casey feel about the sixth-inning explosion?

"Exactly the same as it felt for the 4,000 (fans)," he said. "I'm just a little closer to the heat, so I get burned a little more."

kerryeggers@portlandtribune

Twitter: @kerryeggers