There’s four of them, and just three spent all their college years in Oregon State’s orange and black.
Ryan Gorton, John Tommasini, Taylor Starr and Ryan Dunn will play their final regular season baseball games for the Beavers this weekend. They’ve each brought something special to the program and all of them are taking away something when their OSU careers end.
“They bring tons of leadership, tons of past knowledge,” sophomore pitcher Ben Wetzler said. “When I got here, Gorto just kind of took me under his wing and helped me. He showed me the way, the right way, to do it. He helped me a lot.”
Senior Day will officially be during Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game with Oregon at Goss Stadium. That game will be televised by KEZI (9.2) as well. The Civil War Series will wrap up Sunday afternoon.
Gorton and Wetzler spent last summer in town as teammates on the Corvallis Knights. Freshman left-hander Jace Fry was also on that team, which won the West Coast League championship.
Tommasini and Starr both battled injuries during their OSU careers — the former missed all of 2011 with an arm injury, while the latter had three surgeries on his throwing arm that erased the 2009, ’10 and ’11 seasons — while Dunn came to OSU from Orange Coast College and started out as a bullpen pitcher his junior year.
They’ve become the Beavers’ most versatile player (Gorton), best second baseman (Tommasini), top third baseman (Dunn) and mid-week starter (Starr).
“You’re always in the same situation with seniors, but you also understand that it’s coming,” coach Pat Casey said. “Sometimes you lose more juniors than you do seniors. It’s always a guessing game in this sport.
“But certainly our seniors have been big contributors to our program, and hopefully they’ll finish strong and help us down the stretch.”
The stretch run is nearly over; OSU’s seniors are taking away everything they put into the program, and a maturity they didn’t have when they arrived on campus.
Each of them recently shared a little about what they’ve learned — about themselves, about baseball and about life — by being Beavers and what they already know they’ll remember forever.
Learned: “Just show up every day. That in athletics you have to be working with a team and with leadership and that coach Case expects your best at all times, to be on your game all the time.
“That translates to school, to family and to life. It’s whatever you do, be like a champion and you’ll set yourself up for a good life.”
Memory: “Not necessarily like stats or anything, just all the guys you play with. They make it fun, the conversations you have, the guys you hang out with day in and day out.”
Learned: “I feel like I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve found out who I am as a person and what kind of ballplayer I want to be.
“This program has made me more mentally tough than I was coming in. That’s one of the things coach Case talks to us about in the recruiting process — that after our career here, we’re going to be a man. That’s where I feel like I’m standing now.”
Memory: “I’ll never forget the 16-inning game we played my sophomore year against UCLA. I think it was like five-and-a-half hours long. I pitched five innings. Three of the innings I gave up leadoff doubles and somehow withered my way out of it.
“And then just being around the guys. I’ve had some great teammates — Carter Bell, Jared Norris, they came in with me and I’m still really good friends with them — just the friendships. That’s what I’m really going to remember.”
Learned: “I had a lot of ups and downs in baseball. Injuries are inevitable, it’s how you approach them and do your work every day and stay positive.”
Memory: “That was an awesome feeling, very rewarding. It was fun and it’s always good to be getting a W against Oregon in the Civil War (on April 24 in Eugene). I think that will be one of those memories.
“There’ve been a lot of good things that have gone on in my five years here, but that will definitely be one of them.”
Learned: “Probably the team that I have, having guys that I love and they love me. Enjoying them and the coaches, the teamwork, the competition. I love the community and the fans are great.”
Memory: “Playing my brother (Caleb) in the Civil War in ’09. We played them in a series at PGE Park, if I remember right. I’ll never forget playing that.”