Conforto Homers Conquer Wolfpack

Michael Conforto clouted 2 3 run opposite field home runs, the second one in the decisive 10th inning, to power Oregon St. past Nevada 10-7 Tuesday in Reno, giving the Beavers a sweep of the 2 game series against the Wolfpack.

The pair of round trippers gives Conforto 8 for the year, and a Pac-12 leading 43 RBIs. Last year, Parker Berberet led the Beavers in RBIs, with only 39 in the entire season.

The Beavers got a pair of second inning doubles to spark them to a 2-0 lead, but they only extended it to 3-0 in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. Even though Conforto homered in the third, after Tyler Smith had singled to score Nate Esposito, who was making his first start for Oregon St., to open a 7-0 lead, the missed opportunity an inning before seemed like it would come back to haunt the Beavers.

Sure enough, Nevada mounted a late rally, just as they did the day before, and this time they came all the way back, instead of falling a run short.

The Wolfpack used a pair of walks and a wild pitch to set the table for a couple of RBI singles to get their rally started in the fifth inning.

The seventh inning really hurt Oregon St., as Jay Anderson led off with a triple off Matt Boyd. Consecutive walks set the table for a 2 RBI double by Garrett Yrigoyen, and a wild pitch and a walk kept things going, in a wild inning that forced the Beavers to use 4 different pitchers.

Oregon St. had another opportunity to put the game away in the top of the eighth inning, but left the bases loaded yet again. Nevada used consecutive triples off Ryan Gorton by Jamison Rowe and Yrigoyen to tie the game at 7-7, but an attempt at a squeeze bunt to win the game didn't work out, with Yrigoyen put out at the plate, and it was on to extra innings.

Joey Matthews, pinch hitting for Ryan Barnes, reached on a fielders' choice that unfortunately put John Tommasini out for the second out, but Smith, the Pac-12's leading hitter, walked on 5 pitches, using the "a walk is as good as a hit" theory. Which it is with Conforto coming up behind you.

Conforto took the first pitch he saw from Colby Blueberg out to left field, as the wind just kept carrying the ball further and further.

It was enough for Oregon St. closer Tony Bryant to put Nevada away for the save for the second day in a row. After a ground out at first and a swinging strike out, Anderson doubled down the right field line, but Bryant put an end to the excitement, getting Joe Kohan to strike out looking.

It was a pitchers' duel of another sort, as Nevada used 10 pitchers, with Blueberg getting the loss, making him 0-2 for the season. Oregon St. wasn't far behind, using 6 pitchers, in large part due to the troublesome seventh inning, when neither Scott Schultz nor Zach Reser could get an out following up Boyd. Gorton finally got Oregon St. out of trouble, and went 2 solid innings of work before getting touched up for the triples that prevented the Beavers from getting the win in regulation.

Gorton got the win, his first decision of the season, and Bryant the save.

Dan Child, normally the middle guy in Oregon St.'s weekend rotation, breezed through the first 4 innings, and carried the 7-0 lead into the 5th inning. After giving up the walks and the first 2 runs, Child continued into the 6th inning, getting the first out before handing the ball over to Boyd for what Beaver fans probably thought would be a relatively easy close out.

But nothing has been easy of late for Oregon St.

Conforto reached base 4 times, drawing a pair of walks to go with his 2 home runs, and Smith had a pair of hits to go with his walk. Ryan Dunn and Dylan Davis also had a pair of hits, with Dunn a run scored, and Davis an RBI, as the Beavers combined for a dozen hits.

Yrigoyen was the player of the game for the Wolfpack, getting 4 hits, 4 RBIs, and a run scored, in 5 at bats, and also pitching a 1 hit seventh inning.

The Beavers (20-11, 6-6) return home for a non-conference weekend series against Arkansas Pine-Bluff (6-25, 5-10 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference). The Golden Lions did take 2 of 3 from Grambling St. this past weekend.

Friday night's game is scheduled for a 5:35 start, with Ben Wetzler on the mound. Saturday's game will be a 2:05 start, and Sunday's series finale is scheduled for a 1:05 first pitch.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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