Oregon State survived extremely wet conditions and a terrific performance by Oregon pitcher Jeff Gold on Saturday night, eventually rallying for a 4-2, series clinching victory. The game gave Beaver manager Pat Casey his 700th career victory and was played in front of 3,307 diehard fans.
Oregon quieted the orange and black raingear clad fans in the second inning, starting the frame with a single up the middle by junior Kyle Garlick. He was sacrificed over to second on a bunt, and two batters later was singled home by Shaun Chase. The Ducks would then load the bases later in the inning, but Andrew Moore worked out of it, getting a strike out and pop out to limit the damage.
Sophomore right-hander Andrew Moore got the start for Oregon State tonight, and save for that one inning, was masterful. He gave up two runs on only four hits in eight innings of work, striking out seven on 121 pitches. The win was his fourth of the season against 3 losses, and 18th as a Beaver. While there were still some struggles with control, Moore did a good job of getting out of the self-inflicted damage. It's safe to say that he is now out of his mid-season slump.
After seven innings of dominating Beaver hitters, Oregon manager George Horton made a decision he would later regret. He pulled unbeaten starter Jeff Gold after 94 pitches, undefeated on the season and not having given up a run on the night.
Reliever Garrett Cleavinger ran into trouble immediately, walking the first batter he faced, giving up a flare single, then issuing another free pass. Junior Dylan Davis then put the Beavers ahead for the first time, driving the first pitch he saw to the gap in right center.
"I was just looking for a pitch and hitting it," Davis said. "No outs, bases loaded I just want to out a ball in play, mostly in the air tag a run and tie up the game. I was just trying to see the ball and hit the ball. I can't control what happens after I hit it. That eighth inning came around and we just said let's put our foot down and play our baseball, our brand of baseball, and it showed."
The double scored two runs and the home team then went on the hunt for some insurance. They got it following consecutive strikeouts as Caleb Hamilton lined a ball to center that dropped just before Nick Catalano could corral it. The single scored Michael Conforto and Davis easily.
The eighth inning ended on a Logan Ice bunted pop out to Cleavinger, who then yelled a word rhyming with "duck" at the Oregon State bullpen. Reports varied on whether the word that followed was "you" or "off", but either way, the Ducks were issued a bench warning for the outburst.
Moore exited to a standing ovation from the remaining fans following a leadoff single in the top of the ninth, and junior Zack Reser struggled for a second straight night in relief. The southpaw walked the first batter he faced and was then yanked for closer Scott Schultz, who got two quick outs as a steady drizzle became a straight downpour. The Beavers weren't quite out of the woods though.
Aaron Payne was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and then pinch hitter J.B. Bryant worked a walk to cut the deficit to 4-2. As Beaver fans fretted that an already late night would become even later with an Oregon single, Schultz finally got out of the inning, and the game, and got his fourth save of the season, and 2nd of the weekend, with a groundout to first.
Cleavinger took the loss, and dropped to 1-2 for the season.
The win is a huge one, giving Casey's club another win against a top ten team. Oregon State now sits at 16th in the RPI, two spots better than the highest ranked team to ever receive a national seed, and eight places better than the next closest challenger from the Pac-12 in Oregon.
The Beavers improved to 30-8 with the win and 13-4 in Pac-12 play. The Ducks dropped to 31-12, but it's their 10-7 league record that is holding them back from national seed discussion. They will try to salvage one game from the series in tomorrow's finale, which starts at 1:00 PM on ESPNU.