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Beavers have productive baseball offseason

Catching up on what has happened with Oregon State baseball this summer …

• Michael Conforto was a key fixture on the USA Collegiate National Team that went 20-3 and swept a five-game series with Cuba. The junior outfielder hit .302 with five doubles and a team-best three home runs as Team USA went 13-0 in exhibitions and 7-3 in international play.

• Dylan Davis hit .317 with eight doubles, six HRs and 34 RBIs in 29 games with Falmouth and started in right field in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game. The junior outfielder had an opportunity to join Team USA midway through its tour but chose to stay with the Commodores.

• Kavin Keyes came on late to help the Corvallis Knights claim the West Coast League championship, batting .304 in eight regular-season games, then going 9-for-15 in for playoff games. Keyes, the Beavers' starting third baseman last season, played some catcher for the Knights and will get a look at playing the position as a senior next spring. "I would like to have that as an option," OSU coach Pat Casey says.

• Incoming freshman Kevin Flemer had a standout season as a reliever for the Knights. The 6-foot, 195-pound right-hander from El Cerrito, Calif., was 2-1 with an 0.81 ERA with four walks and 17 strikeouts in 22 innings.

"Kevin is Sam Gaviglio-like on the mound," OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie says, invoking the name of the former Oregon State great now pitching with the Gulf Coast Cardinals in Rookie ball. "He is never going to too high or too low."

• Another incoming freshman right-hander, Chandler Eden, was 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA in 13 appearances, with three starts, striking out 36 in 33 2/3 innings for the Marysville (Calif.) Gold Sox of the Horizon Air Summer Series. Yeskie says Flemer and the 6-4, 180-pound Eden will be in the mix to pitch right away for the Beavers next season.

• Yeskie and Casey were thrilled with left-hander Ben Wetzler's decision to return to Oregon State for his senior year. Wetzler, a fifth-round pick by Philadelphia in the June major league draft, turned down a signing bonus offered by the Phillies that one source said was in the neighborhood of $350,000-$400,000.

"Ben will have such a huge impact on next year's team," Yeskie says. "I don't know how many fifth-round picks return to college. It will be great to have him back in our rotation, but I'm most happy for our freshmen and the impact he'll have with them. It's like having a big-league veteran around to school the rookies. They'll draw from his experience."

• Pitchers Andrew Moore, Jace Fry, Max Englebrekt and Scott Schultz -- who also announced he will return for his senior season -- didn't play summer ball, opting to rehab and work out together in Corvallis after a long season that culminated in a Pac-12 championship and a College World Series appearance. Moore had a sensational freshman campaign, going 14-2 -- matching the school single-season record for victories -- with a 1.79 ERA and earning first-team All-America honors.

"We felt like Andrew had logged enough innings," Casey says. "We wanted him to take the summer off, rest his arm and build up his body. He and Jace, in particular, look bigger and stronger."

• A strong candidate to replace all-Pac-12 shortstop Tyler Smith is incoming freshman Trevor Morrison of Bothell, Wash. The 6-1, 180-pound Morrison, who bats left-handed, hit .550 as a senior at Archbishop Murphy High to earn 2A all-state laurels. Morrison played for Seattle's Chaffey tournament team this summer.

• OSU coaches have been working the recruiting trails hard this summer and have been particularly successful in-state.

Incoming prep seniors can't sign until November, but those who have verbally committed include Jesuit left-handed pitcher Christian Martinek, South Salem right-handed pitcher Sam Tweedt, Putnam middle infielder Trace Loehr, West Albany third baseman Jackson Soto and Tualatin outfielder Cooper Brunner.

Also committed is outfielder Elliott Cary of Niceville, Fla., who reportedly will move with his family and attend Clackamas High as a senior. Cary hit .438 and was named his area's "Hitter of the Year" as a junior. His father, Chuck Cary, pitched eight years in the major leagues.

Oregon State also has verbals from shortstop Christian Donahue and catcher Kainoa Harrison, the two top-rated prospects from Hawaii; right-handed pitcher Drew Rasmussen from Spokane and third baseman Joe Gillette from Scotts Valley, Calif.

• Three others who could join the program by the time fall ball begins on Sept. 15 are catcher Dane Lund, who may transfer from San Jose State; Linn-Benton CC first baseman Jake Herklotz, and Southridge pitcher Reza Aleaziz.

Lund hit a team-high .343 for the Corvallis Knights and was first-team all-WCL this summer. Aleaziz, the Metro League pitcher of the year last spring, signed a letter-of-intent with Oregon, but word is he has asked out of the commitment and will now walk on at OSU.

• Casey and his coaches are fundraising for renovations to Goss Stadium that will include a new training room, players' locker room and reception room, coaches' office and locker room and a deck to host a barbecue area for fans -- all along the third-base side of the facility.

"The goal is to have construction begin before the end of 2013 and have it finished before the season is over," Casey says.

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