All posts by Aaron Yost

Aaron Yost is a freelance sports reporter, writer and photographer with a career spanning more than three decades at five different newspapers in Oregon. He has covered the Pac-10/Pac-12 Conference on a regular basis since 1993.

Inside the Pac-12: A Mother’s Day gift at Goss

“He doesn’t have to take me anywhere after that,” Tracie Conforto said right after hugging her son, Oregon State junior outfielder Michael Conforto, in the stands at Goss Stadium on Sunday.

“That” was the younger Conforto’s two-homer, five RBI performance in an 11-2 victory over UCLA. The win gives OSU a full-game lead over Washington for the Pac-12 Conference title with the Huskies coming into Goss next weekend for a three-game showdown. Continue reading Inside the Pac-12: A Mother’s Day gift at Goss

Around the WCC: Father-son combination finally happens at San Francisco

Nino Giarratano was named the head coach at San Francisco 16 years ago or shortly after Nico Giarratano left short pants behind.

For years, Nino heard about Nico’s prowess on the baseball field through text messages from Brenda Giarratano and phone calls, his coaching duties preventing him from seeing his son develop as a competitor and ballplayer. Continue reading Around the WCC: Father-son combination finally happens at San Francisco

Big 12 contender: Oklahoma State closing on first conference title

There’s a new sheriff in Big 12 baseball – or at least a strong contender for the title – as Oklahoma State has built up a three-game lead in the win column on the Cowboys’ nearest competitor.

The Pokes from Stillwater are no pushovers in the conference after taking 2 of 3 from Texas last weekend to 31-13 overall and 13-5 in the conference.

The Cowboys are stepping outside of conference this weekend, facing Arizona State in a three-game set, and finish the year against last-place Kansas State and struggling Oklahoma. They’re ranked as high as No. 9 and have a climbing RPI – sufficient to have them drawing attention in the race for an NCAA Regional.

For more on how things have changed at OK-State, which has never won a Big 12 regular season title, click here: Shifting mindset has Oklahoma State rising in Big 12

WCC profile: Zimmer adjusting to changing roles, expectations

Bradley Zimmer isn’t out to blaze any new trails, just to find some consistency.

It’s been a challenge for the University of San Francisco junior. He’s the highest profile player on a team battling to find its way in the West Coast Conference.

A 2013 WCC all-star, Zimmer is one of the top draft-eligible juniors in the country, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound center fielder who can hit and run. He turned a sure single into a standup triple in a recent game with Portland. That led to a big ninth inning as the Dons (20-22, 8-13) salvaged a win over the Pilots.

Batting lead off, Zimmer went 3-for-4 in that victory, the second half of a doubleheader. Hitting third in the first game, he was 1-for-4. Continue reading WCC profile: Zimmer adjusting to changing roles, expectations

Inside the Pac-12: Oregon State shows its mettle in sweep of Ducks

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Six days ago, Oregon State blew a 6-1 lead in a loss to Sacramento State.

The Beavers underwent a “come-to-Jesus” talking to from senior pitcher Ben Wetzler. Since then, the Beavers have been both resilient, patient and unbeatable.

Junior lefthander Jace Fry allowed one hit in eight innings, Michael Conforto had a first-inning solo home run and fifth-ranked Oregon State won its fourth straight in finishing off a Pac-12 Conference sweep of arch rival Oregon at Goss Stadium on Sunday with a 7-1 victory. Continue reading Inside the Pac-12: Oregon State shows its mettle in sweep of Ducks

Inside the Pac-12: Patience gives Beavers series win over Oregon in Civil War

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State coach Pat Casey said on Friday that the key to beating arch rival Oregon was beating the Ducks’ pitching.

On Saturday night, Casey and the Beavers needed eight innings to prove him correct, again. OSU broke through for four hits and four runs in the bottom of the eighth to wrap up the Pac-12 series win and gain a percentage-points lead over Washington in the race for the conference title. Continue reading Inside the Pac-12: Patience gives Beavers series win over Oregon in Civil War

Inside the Pac-12: Wetzler becomes Oregon State’s ace of aces

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Senior lefthander Ben Wetzler isn’t interested in individual accomplishments.

He did forego professional riches to become the winningest pitcher in Oregon State history. Wetzler, a fifth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in June 2013, returned to the Beavers for one simple reason.

“The dog pile,” he said. Continue reading Inside the Pac-12: Wetzler becomes Oregon State’s ace of aces

Inside the WCC: Lechich recovers from Saturday’s loss with a gem

PORTLAND, Ore. – Louie Lechich shrugged off a ninth-inning disaster on Saturday to lead San Diego to a West Coast Conference series victory over Portland on Sunday at Joe Ertz Field.

Lechich, in the game to close a 9-8 victory on Saturday, was one strike away from a save with no runners on. What followed was an NCAA-contender’s worst nightmare. Portland rallied for a 10-9 victory and the Pilots had an opportunity to win the series entering Sunday. Continue reading Inside the WCC: Lechich recovers from Saturday’s loss with a gem