Oregon St. used 20 hits to hammer USC for a 10-4 win Friday night, but that's rarefied air for the Beavers bats, and so on Saturday, they resorted to a time tested formula, and one that revisited what was not so long ago their favored formula; get to the late innings with a lead and turn things over to the "Killer Bs".
But when Matt Boyd was pressed into service as the Friday night starter, and Scott Schultz became the reliable closer almost regardless of the situation, Tony Bryant, minus his setup man, became sort of the forgotten man in the Oregon St. bullpen. USC had their memory refreshed though on Saturday.
Oregon St. got only 5 hits off USC starter Wyatt Strahan, who took the loss, and dropped to 2-3 for the season. But 3 of them delivered runs, and it certainly didn't hurt that one of those was a home run by Michael Conforto in the 4th inning. It was Conforto's 7th round tripper of the season, but his first in 20 games, and followed up a run in the second inning, when a leadoff walk to Dylan Davis and a wild pitch set the stage for Ryan Barnes' RBI infield single.
It was enough given another solid performance by Andrew Moore, who improved to 8-1 for the season. Moore also allowed only 5 hits, and combined with some solid defense behind him, got the Beavers deep into the 8th inning, just the right time for Bryant to come in and close out the game, picking up his first save of the season, but the 22nd of his career.
Oregon St. turned a pair of double plays, and got a highlight video catch in center field from Max Gordon, but it was in the 8th inning, with the score still only 2-0, that the game was won.
USC twice challenged Oregon St. arms, and paid the price with unforced outs at third base.
Moore hit leadoff hitter Timmy Robinson with a pitch, and Robinson moved to second on a single to left by Bobby Stahel. Conforto initially bobbled the ball, prompting Robinson to try to take third. Conforto cut Robinson down easily.
Stahel, who had advanced to second on the throw, subsequently tried to take third when a pitch got a little ways away from Oregon St. catcher Jake Rodriguez. But Rodriguez got a handle on the ball, and easily gunned out Stahel.
With those threats erased, Moore handed the ball to Bryant, and it was just like old times.
Oregon St. did scratch out an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, as both Kavin Keyes and Gordon sacrificed Jake Rodriguez who had led off the inning with a single around to third, and Tyler Smith delivered the RBI single.
It was the 8th shutout win of the season for Oregon St., including 1 in each of the Beavers' last 5 Pac-12 series. It was also only the second time this season USC has been blanked. The loss dropped the Trojans to 16-25, and 8-12 in conference.
Oregon's 6-4 win over Stanford leave then still 1/2 game ahead of Oregon St., though, the Beavers still hold a percentage points edge over the Ducks.
Oregon St. improved to 33-8, and 13-4 in the Pac-12, and will go for their first ever series sweep of USC tomorrow, with first pitch by Ben Wetzler at 12:05.