Beavers Fall To UCLA 3-2

Ryan Barnes was 2-4 with 2 runs in the loss. - Photo by Andy Wooldridge

UCLA starter Adam Plutko shut down the Beaver offense, and the Bruins offense did just enough to win the series opener.

Final Score - Bruins 3 Beavers 2

The Beavs got off to a hot start in this one, scoring in the top of the first before recording an out thanks to a couple Plutko miscues in the form of an error and a run-scoring balk. Wedged between those consequential mistakes was an Andy Peterson bunt single. The Beavers could've scored more, but consecutive foulouts by Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis followed by a Danny Hayes groundout killed the rally.

Plutko settled down in a big way after that. The Beavers got their second hit, and first that wasn't a bunt, with two outs in the 5th inning. The Beavers got just 4 hits all game long. The Beavers' 5-9 batters combined to go 0-16. Fortunately, the Beavers were doing a good job of making Plutko throw pitches. Although they were late on just about every fastball the hard-throwing righty delivered, the Beavs managed to foul them off and lay off most of the bad ones. Plutko walked 3 and struck out 6 over his 7 innings of 2-hit ball.

Oregon State starter Matt Boyd, on the other hand, became less effective as the night progressed. In the 4th inning, Bruin first basemen Pat Gallagher, who was 2-4 with a run and an RBI, lined a ball down the right field line that kicked up chalk and drove in the tying run. Boyd had given up several loud outs throughout the game (VIDEO of one such out), and in the 5th, the UCLA DH Kevin Williams made him pay. Williams, batting 9th in the lineup and striking out 2 of the 3 times he batted, made sure the one ball he put in play was never really in play, depositing a belt-high fastball over the right field fence and giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead.

In the 7th, the Beaver defense fell apart and cost Oregon State a consequential run. Gallagher led off with a grounder that ate up second basemen Kavin Keyes. Keyes tried to field the ball on an in-between hop that turned out to not be quite good enough to handle. After a SAC bunt and a strikeout, Boyd induced a one-hop liner to third that tailed away from Jared Casper and went under his glove. Had Casper taken a step to his right he would've at least kept the ball in the infield, which is an infielder's primary goal with a runner on 2nd. Gallagher scored on the error, and that was the end of Boyd's night. The senior lefty went 6.2, surrendering 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 5.

It took 3 pitching changes for the Beavers to escape the 7th, but escape they did (VIDEO of Andy Peterson's diving catch to record the third out), holding the Bruins scoreless after the error that gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

The 8th started with Ryan Barnes lacing a single up the middle off Bruin reliever Zack Weiss. Barnes was the only Beaver with a multi-hit game, and he scored both Oregon State runs. Peterson, in a move I'm not sure I agree with, bunted Barnes over and nearly got his 2nd bunt single of the day. (VIDEO of the close play). With a runner on 2nd and 1 out, Michael Conforto grounded out to 2nd, finishing off his 0-4 night. Luckily Dylan Davis was there to come through, hitting a bullet into the right-center gap for an RBI double (VIDEO) . Bruin closer Zack Weiss then came on for the 4-out save, and after some close calls on ground balls foul down the first base line, got Danny Hayes to strike out swinging.

Jake Rodriguez led off the 9th with a hard-hit ball that deflected off Weiss to UCLA third basemen Kevin Kramer, who made a nice play to get J-Rod at first. Kavin Keyes followed up with an even harder-hit ball that Weiss knocked down and threw to first. Pinch-hitter Max Gordon hit a chopper to short to end the ballgame.

Both Tyler Painton and Brandon Jackson walked the only batter they faced. Taylor Starr went 1.1 innings, giving up one hit but nothing more. Adam Plutko was the winning pitcher, Boyd a bit of a hard-luck loser, and Zack Weiss got the save.

Saturday it's game 2 of the series with the Beaver sending freshman Andrew Moore (5-1, 1.48) to the mound. His last appearance was out of the bullpen against San Diego. He threw 4 innings of 2 hit-ball, earning the first save of his collegiate career. The Bruins counter with Nick Vander Tuig (4-2, 2.11), a 6'3" junior. Here's video of him pitching last year against USC. Baseball America's Aaron Fitt reported Vander Tuig having a 87-90 mph fastball and a "very good" 79-81 mph slider.

Go Beavs!

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