Oregon State (28-13, 9-8) at USC (21-17, 5-11) at 11:00 AM PDT at Dedeaux Field - KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM - Audio and Video Stream on Beaver Nation Online, for a fee
Oregon St. plays an early getaway game this morning at USC, and it will settle the series. The Trojans twice came from behind to take Saturday's game 3-2, and even the series with the Beavers.
Oregon St.'s freshman starter Jace Fry got off to a frustrating start, loading the bases in the first inning, but then got out of it, and went on to throw another good game, but suffered from insufficient run support.
The Beavers' Ryan Dunn doubled in the second inning, moved to third on Ryan Barnes' ground out, and scored when Jake Rodriguez singled to center to take a 1-0 lead. The Trojans countered in the fourth inning when James Roberts singled, and went on to score to tie the game after USC wrapped a couple of sacrifices around a Jake Hernandez single.
Oregon St. retook the lead briefly in the top of the 5th inning, when Jake Rodriguez doubled, and scored after the Beaver coaching staff opted for a couple of sacrifices. But their unwillingness to play for more than a single run whenever they got a runner in scoring position left them in no position to hold off USC.
Fry got a pair of strikeouts to start the bottom of the 5th, but then lost the lead when he hit Adam Landecker with a pitch, and then walked Matt Foat, both of whom scored on RBI singles by Roberts and Kevin Roundtree to put USC ahead 3-2.
Oregon St. had a chance to get back into the game in the 8th inning, when Tyler Smith led off by getting on base after being hit by a pitch. Smith, who entered the weekend as the Pac-12's leading hitter, has struggled severely this weekend, going 0 for the trip so far at the plate. So has cleanup hitter Ryan Gorton.
Despite that lack of surrounding hitting, Oregon St. coach Pat Casey inexplicably took the bat out of Michael Conforto's hands, requiring the conference's leading RBI hitter, and second nationally, to sacrifice bunt. And after Gorton flied out, Casey sent Dunn, who already had 4 hits in the series, including a home run and 2 doubles, up with orders not to swing against USC closer Martin Viramontes. After getting a 3-0 count. Dunn took 3 consecutive called strikes to end the inning.
Montes struck out the Beavers' 6-7-8 hitters swinging in the 9th to close out the win, and pick up the save. The Trojans' Andrew Triggs, who went 7 innings and allowed only 5 hits while getting 5 strikeouts, got the win to even his record at 4-4.
Fry took the loss, after working 7 2/3 innings, allowing 6 hits against 6 strikeouts.
Oregon St. won last Sunday against UCLA, and opened the USC series with a win, but the Beavers have been playing bad baseball offensively, and it caught up with them Saturday.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12 Saturday, Oregon pulled into a tie for first with Arizona with a 3-2 win over California. The Wildcats are playing a non-conference series this weekend, and took their second win over East Tennessee St., this time 6-4.
UCLA remained in 3rd place, with a 7-4 win over Stanford, and Arizona St. moved past both Oregon St. and the Cardinal into 4th place, when the Sun Devils beat Washington St. 2-0 in Pullman. The Beavers ans Stanford remain tied, but are now in 5th place, 3 games back. And Utah evened their weekend series at a game apiece, with a 6-0 win over Washington.
The Beavers, who have never swept a series at USC, will send sophomore RHP Dan Child (4-2, 2.13 ERA) to the mound to try to win the series, while the Trojans will counter with freshman LHP Stephen Tarpley (4-1, 2.67 ERA).
Child worked 6 1/3 innings in Oregon St.'s 7-6 win over UCLA last Sunday, and left the game with the Beavers ahead 4-3, but didn't figure in the decision.
Tarpley took his first loss of the season in his last outing, a 4-0 loss at Arizona St. back on April 14. Tarpley worked 7 innings, and gave up 7 hits and 3 walks, and the first 3 of the Sun Devils' runs.