#2 Oregon St. concluded their 4 game stay in Tempe for the Husker Classic to open the season with a second consecutive solid win over Pacific Monday, this time a 7-0 shutout sans the late inning comeback chaos against the reserves that marred the wins Saturday and Sunday.
The Beavers, possibly distracted by being snubbed in this weeks pools, which did not move them up despite being unbeaten, and with teams still ranked ahead of them having taken losses on opening weekend, started slowly, missing out on numerous opportunities to put the Tigers away early, but finally erupted for 5 runs in the 7th inning to end the suspense.
Jeff Hendrix and Andy Peterson both walked to lead off the day for the Oregon St. offense, but the Beavers were unable to score either of them.
In the 3rd inning, Hendrix reached to lead off again, this time hit by a pitch, as happened to get the Oregon St. offense going Friday in their win over Gonzaga.
This time, Michael Conforto came through, with an RBI triple to right center that put the Beavers up 1-0, but Oregon St. couldn't pick up Conforto, stranding 2, including him at third.
The Beavers loaded the bases with none out in the 4th, but stranded them all, with the top of the order, Hendrix, Andy Peterson, and Conforto all unable to deliver.
Kavin Keyes led off the 6th with a double, and Logan Ice followed that up with a single, and went to second on the throw that held Keyes at third. But neither Trevor Morrison nor Hendrix could deliver a timely hit.
Peterson walked to load the bases, and then after one of the 5 Pacific pitching changes of the day, Conforto still walked to drive in his second run of the day. But Dylan Davis lined out, and Oregon St. left the bases loaded a second time.
In the 7th, the Beavers finally broke through, though aided by the Tigers' inability to find someone who could throw strikes.
Ice drew an RBI walk, but then Hendrix connected for a 2 RBI single, and Peterson followed with a sacrifice for another run. Conforto also singled, the 3rd time on the day he was able to deliver in 5 chances with runners in scoring position, making it 7-0 Oregon St.
Oregon St. left someone on base in every at bat except the 5th inning. Over the 4 days, the Beavers stranded 44 runners, 25 in scoring position.
Meanwhile, freshman Jake Thompson was having a sterling first outing. Thompson worked 7 innings, and allowed only 3 hits, never more than 1 in an inning, and just 2 walks, with 3 strikeouts.
Thompson also calmly worked out of trouble after the Tigers got someone to 3rd in 3 of the first 4 innings.
With a 7 run lead, Thompson was lifted for Zack Reser in the 8th inning, though his pitch count was only up to 89, and didn't seem to be laboring in any way. Thompson retired 10 of the last 11 Tigers he faced.
Reser turned in a solid inning, and then another freshman, Kevin Flemer, closed out the win.
Thompson got the win, while Pacific starter Will Lydon, who was replaced right before Conforto came up in the 4th with the bases loaded, took the loss.
Conforto already has 7 hits and 6 walks, and 11 RBIs, in 20 plate appearances. Hendrix reached base 11 of 15 times to the plate, and has 6 runs scored and 6 RBIs already. Morrison hitting at the bottom of the lineup, also has 6 runs scored, co-leading the team with Hendrix.
Pacific dropped to 1-3 after the opening weekend of the season, while Oregon St. is 4-0, heading into next weekend's Pac-12 - Big-10 Tournament across town in Surprise, starting with another game against Nebraska, whom the Beavers beat 15-7 Saturday.
Oregon St. stayed #2 in the Baseball America poll this week, behind Virginia, who went 2-1, but lost to Kentucky.
Fullerton St. is 3rd behind the Beavers in the BA poll, but remained #1 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, despite having lost 1 of 3 games in their opening series against Washington St.
Mississippi St., who also lost a game this weekend, and LSU are also ahead of Oregon St. in the CB poll.
Perfect Game has both Virginia and Fullerton St. still ahead of Oregon St.
Oregon, who had a perfect weekend in Hawaii, is the next highest ranked west coast team. The Ducks are #11 in the Baseball America poll, and #6 according to Collegiate Baseball. Defending National Champion UCLA is #12 and #14 in the two polls, after bouncing back from an opening day 1-0 loss to Portland to take the remaining 2 games in the series from the Pilots.
Big-10 Champion Indiana, whom Oregon St. eliminated in last year's College Series, and will meet next Sunday morning in Surprise, fell to #10 in the Baseball America poll, after losing the last 3 of 4 games at Texas Tech.
Baseball America and Perfect Game both have Cal-Poly at #22, while Collegiate Baseball has Arizona St. #21 and Arizona #23, the other western teams to be ranked this week.
After the game, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers released their poll for the week, and the writers do have Oregon St. at #1, the first time the Beavers have been ranked #1 in any poll outside of the post-season polls in their two Nation Championship seasons. Fullerton St. is their #2.