Michael Conforto homered for the 4th time this season, but that wasn't enough for the Beavers to beat the Wildcats Sunday. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge).
2 months from now, if the Beavers are on the bubble of the College World Series, they will look back at this weekend as a devastating one. It was a series that the Beavers could have swept. Saturday, they were a couple bad pitches and maybe some better bullpen management from a win. Sunday, it would've been a completely different game minus a crucial error.
Final Score - Box score
The Beavers had a 2-0 lead after Ryan Dunn and Kavin Keyes, who reached on a double and a walk to start the inning, scored on two separate groundballs to shortstop. In the 4th, the Wildcats tied the game, partially thanks to Jace Fry, whose control overall improved today, starting off two straight batters with a 2-0 count. They both singled, and eventually scored.
Fry threw 4.2 innings today, which wasn't what Pat Casey said he had in mind in the pregame interview with Mike Parker, when Casey said he'd like Fry to go deep in the game. Over those 4.2 innings, Fry allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits. He issued 4 walks, and recorded 5 strikeouts.
Oregon State reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning when Keyes scored on a wild pitch. Unfortunately, Fry and the Beavs fell apart in the 5th. Fry surrendered a leadoff double, and the freshmen lefty's throw on the ensuing bunt pulled Ryan Barnes off the first base bag. A swinging bunt tied the game, and a walk loaded the bases after that. Wildcat senior Seth Mejias-Brean drove in two with a single, giving Arizona a 2-run lead. Two outs and the second unearned run of the inning later, Matt Boyd was summoned in from the bullpen, and ended the inning.
The Beavs stole some momentum back in the bottom of the 5th, as Michael Conforto crushed a 2-run homer out to the top of the bleachers in right field, pulling the Beavers to within 1. Unfortunately, Boyd couldn't keep the Wildcats quiet in the 6th, as Arizona's shortstop Alex Mejia hit a solo shot to left field, making it a 7-5 Wildcat lead. Overall, Boyd pitched very well today, as the solo homer was the only run he gave up in 4.1 innings of work, during which he struck out 5 batters.
Oregon State had a chance in the 8th, but, just like Saturday's 9th inning, they failed to convert. The Beavs had 1st and 3rd with one out, and batter Ryan Barnes had a 3-1 count. The next pitch was the one to hit, but instead he watched the belt-high fastball go by for strike two, and flew out softly to center on the 3-2 pitch.
In the 9th, Oregon State struck out three times, twice looking. Max Gordon, the final OSU batter, checked his swing on a full-count high fastball, but, as Mike Parker implied, the umpire wanted to get out of the rain, and "take his hot shower."
As of Sunday night, UCLA leads the Pac-12 with a 4-1 record, but they have to play Monday. They lead Stanford (who also plays Monday), Arizona, and Oregon State by half a game. The Huskies are a full game back, and Oregon, ASU, and Utah are all behind by 1.5 games. USC and WSU trail by 3 games, and the Golden Bears are 3.5 games back.
Oregon State's next game will be on the road Tuesday at 3 PM against Portland, before they play their 3-game series vs. Washington in Corvallis. Saturday's game against the Huskies will be televised on ROOT Sports.