Dan Child and Michael Conforto came through for Oregon St. as the Beavers came from behind to beat Utah 5-4 in 10 innings, which also gave them the series win Sunday in Salt Lake City. It was one of the most competitive series of the Pac-12 season, with all 3 games decided by one run, and 2 in extra innings. It was the 5th consecutive game decided by a single run for Oregon St., who has won 3 of them.
Child went the entire distance, his first complete game outing, and though he allowed 9 hits, he only walked 1 Ute, and struck out 11. Utah also never got a big inning, tallying only once in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, & 6th innings. As a result, Child improved to 5-3 for the season.
And Conforto was the main reason why. Conforto was 3 of 5 for the day, and 2 of the hits accounted for 3 of Oregon St.'s 5 runs. A 2 run homer to left caped a 3 run third inning, and then in the 9th, a 2 out single scored Ryan Dettman to tie the game.
The Beavers pushed Ryan Dunn across in the 10th with the winning run when, after Dunn had doubled, and a couple of walks followed, Nate Esposito, in his first at bat in a Pac-12 game, drew a third consecutive walk, the second off Utah reliever Josh Chapman.
Conforto's 9th inning RBI and the run producing walk also averted Oregon St. becoming the first team to lose a Pac-12 series to Utah.
Conforto is now tied for the Pac-12 lead in home runs, with 11, and is just 4 RBIs shy of Joe Gerber's single season team record of 67.
Exclusive of Conforto's 2 run scoring hits, the Beavers continued to struggle severely to get hits at key times. Oregon St. got 14 hits, 9 of them off Utah starter Mitch Watrous, but left a dozen runners on base, and hit below .100 with runners in scoring position. It's a problem that simply has to be solved if the Beavers hope to have a chance in the post season, especially given that yesterday's 5-4 10 inning loss did nothing to help their chances of hosting a regional.
While Child was going the extra distance, and throwing 131 pitches, Utah used 5 pitchers, and Nick Green, who came in after Conforto's single tied it in the 9th, and issued the first of the 3 walks that ultimately swung the game, got the loss, and dropped to 1-1 for the season.
Oregon St. (32-17, 13-11) stayed in 6th place in the Pac-12 race, and still trails Oregon (37-14, 18-8) by 4 games after the Ducks downed USC 4-2 to maintain the lead in the conference standings.
Stanford stayed a game ahead of the Beavers with their 6-1 win over Washington St., and the Cardinal pulled into a tie with Arizona St., who had the conference bye this week. The Sun Devils did complete a weekend sweep of Gonzaga with a 3-1 win.
Arizona and UCLA stayed right on the Duck's tail, in second and third place, a game and 2 games back respectively. The Wildcats conquered California 7-4, and the Bruins beat Washington 4-2. Both completed weekend sweeps on the road.
Oregon St. hosts Portland (25-18, 12-9 in the West Coast Conference) Tuesday at 5:35 PM PM at Goss Stadium, before hitting the road again next weekend for their last out of town series of the regular season, in Pullman against Washington St.
The Pilots defeated St. Mary's 7-5, and took the last 2 of their 3 game series against the Gaels.