The pitching duel between Oregon St.'s Jace Fry and Washington's Tyler Davis, both of whom came into Saturday's showdown for first place with 10-1 records and sub-2.00 ERAs, not only didn't disappoint, with some great infield defensive plays by both teams to back up their aces, it exceeded expectations, and the game went deep into the bottom of the 9th inning still scoreless.
But it was the only pitch Washington had someone other than T. Davis deliver that mattered the most. T. Davis worked into the 9th inning of a game for the first time in his career, and the first Beaver he encountered in the uncharted territory was Dylan Davis.
After going 0-8 in yesterday's series opening 4-2 loss, Oregon St.'s 1-2 punch of 3-4 hitters Michael Conforto and D. Davis had gone 1-7 up to that point, capped by Conforto striking out with the go ahead run on base in the bottom of the 7th.
But going against Conforto and Davis, the #2 and #1 RBI guys in the Pac-12, is like playing Russian Roulette; sooner or later it will catch up with you.
D. Davis finally got his first hit of the series, a leadoff single to right field, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Gabe Clark, his first successful sacrifice bunt of the season.
Washington coach Lindsay Meggs decided to intentionally walk Michael Howard, and then take the ball from T. Davis, and hand it to Troy Rallings, the Huskies' closer.
Rallings had had a comment for the Beavers after closing out the end of yesterday's contest, and Oregon St. freshman Logan Ice had something to say about it in response with his bat, hammering Rallings' fist pitch for a double off the wall in right field that scored D. Davis.
"Runner in scoring position, and I was just looking for a pitch to hit and I hit it; put a good swing on it," Fry said.
Going after the first pitch may have taken Rallings and the Huskies off guard, as Ice is second in the Pac-12 in walks.
It was Ice, a Puyallup, WA, native, who also iced the Huskies in the team's first meeting back in Surprise, AZ, as well, for the 2 out 2 RBI double, and went on to score the winning run that sent the Beavers to a 3-2 win for T. Davis' only other loss of the season.
And it was Ice that kept the game scoreless, ending a Washington scoring threat and the inning in the bottom of the 7th.
The Huskies' Austin Rei had drawn a leadoff walk when the full count pitch resulted in a missed swing by the umpire crew, and after Fry fired his 7th & 8th of an eventual 9 strikeouts, moved to second on 9th hole hitter Erik Forgione's single to right.
Husky leadoff hitter Brandon Bishop broke out of an 0-3 day with a hit to deep short, so deep that Beaver short stop Trevor Morrison, who had already turned in a couple of web gems, couldn't get the throw to second baseman Andy Peterson quick enough.
But the function of third base coaches is to run their team out of innings (it's way in the back of the rule book), and that's what happened, as Rei was sent home. Peterson fired a strike to Ice at the plate, and the game stayed tied at a soccer score.
Oregon St. had their chances to get to T. Davis early, leaving 2 runners on, and 1 in scoring position, in each of their first at bats, but the season record crowd of 3,323, which included former Oregon St. head coach Jack Riley, and nearly 100 former Beaver baseball players, began to wonder if the missed opportunities would come back to haunt them as T. Davis settled down, even though Fry was again pitching masterfully, on his way to his 4th complete game win of the season, an outcome that couldn't be assumed at any time until Ice's timely hit.
Rei had previously led off the 5th with a single as well, but was erased by a double play, and Washington also missed a chance to take the lead by a couple of feet when Andrew Ely doubled of the wall in the right field corner, missing a home run by a couple of feet, with 2 out in the 6th inning.
Fry proceeded to issue a walk and a wild pitch, but got out of the bases loaded jam with a fly ball out by Trevor Mitsui.
The game wasn't on par with the 1-0 win over Indiana in last year's College World Series; there were 14 total hits today, 7 by each team, and an error on each side as well. But it was the best pitching performance overall by both teams seen at Goss in quite a while, in a game that took only 2:22 to do.
Here's the Pac-12 Network highlights of the game:
Here's Ice postgame:
Here's coach Pat Casey after the game:
The win improved second ranked Oregon St. to 40-9, and 21-5 in the Pac-12, and pushed the Beavers 1 game ahead of Washington in the conference race, as the Huskies slipped to 38-12-1, and 20-6 in the Pac-12, heading to tomorrow afternoon's 3 PM series deciding game.
It's the 4th year in a row the Beavers have won at least 40 games.
Fry improved to 11-1, while T. Davis, who has been devastating against all other competition, and has posted the first 10 win season for Washington since Tim Lincecum in 2006, dropped to 10-2, and will have to wait until next week to try to become only the 4th Husky ever to win at least 11 games in a season.
"I felt like I had a little more adrenaline and focus in this one," Fry said.
Senior LHP Ben Wetzler (9-1, 0.94) will be back from his 5 game suspension, and make the start for Oregon St. tomorrow, while Washington will counter with junior RHP Jeff Brigham (6-2, 3.04).