By Eric Olson
The Associated Press
Arizona at Oregon St.
When: 7 p.m. Friday TV: Pac-12
Another week of dominant pitching has Oregon State off to a 17-1 start.
The Beavers, who own the best ERA in the country by far, will find out how good their arms really are this week when Arizona (15-4) visits Corvallis.
They are coming off their first road sweep against Arizona State since 1966, holding the Sun Devils to one run and striking out 31 batters over 27 innings.
“Well, we certainly have pitched very well and our defense had been a big part of that,” Beavers coach Pat Casey wrote in a text message to The Associated Press on Monday. “I’m not sure if I’ve seen a staff be this consistent over that many games.”
Oregon State leads the nation with its 1.06 ERA (Louisville is second at 1.75) and 5.3 hits allowed per nine innings. The Beavers are second with six shutouts, third with 2.0 walks per nine innings, and fourth with a 4.2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
No. 1 starter Luke Heimlich (4-0) has allowed just one earned run in 362⁄3 innings (0.25 ERA) and No. 3 starter Jake Thompson has given up just four in 331⁄3 (1.08). No. 2 starter Bryce Fehmel, 10-1 with a 2.31 ERA as a freshman last season, is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA. The Beavers’ other starter, Sam Tweedt, is 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA after missing 21 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Returning closer Max Engelbrekt has five saves, and the bullpen has combined to give up only three runs over 441⁄3 innings (0.61).
Arizona, the national runner-up to Coastal Carolina in 2016, is first in the country with a .355 batting average and 10.4 runs per game. The Wildcats have four players batting .405 or better. Alfonso Rivas is batting .436, and Jared Oliva and J.J. Matijevic share the national lead with 12 doubles.
Oregon State moved to the top of the D1Baseball.com rankings this week. Florida State (14-7), which rose to No. 1 last week, lost four of five games and dropped to No. 13.
The Beavers share the No. 1 spot with Louisville (19-0) in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll. Louisville has No. 1 to itself in Baseball America’s poll.