It was a powerhouse pitching duel in Corvallis tonight with starting pitchers Andrew Moore and David Ernst going deep in a game that saw both pitchers struggle at times but also saw both get out of jams and find the pitches when needed. Ernst goes 7.1 innings and scatters only two runs on ten hits and strikes out six. The #1 seed OSU pitcher Moore though goes 8 innings allowing only one run on four hits and had a Oregon State post-season record fourteen strikeouts.
It seemed to bode well for the Beavers in the first as the Bison go 1-2-3, then Jeff Hendrix leads off with a double, but in signs of things to come Hendrix misses an opportunity to advance to third on a Peterson bunt that would have allowed him to score on a long fly out by Michael Conforto, but instead Hendrix is stranded at second leading to a 0-0 opening inning.
North Dakota State though draws first blood in the second off a Kyle Kleinendorst solo home run to put the Bison up 1 to 0. Moore is able to limit the damage by striking out two batters to end the inning. Oregon State is not able to take full advantage of back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the second, but Trever Morrison beats out a possible double-play ball to get a RBI fielder's choice to tie up the game at 1 to 1.
The game then equalized between Ernst giving up hits but still being able to pitch out of possible jams, and having Andrew Moore settled in going on a strikeout run that kept things well in control on the defensive side of the game for the Beavers.
Things continued to be tense for OSU, but a seventh inning single shot home run by Dylan Davis with two outs finally gave the Beavs a 2 to 1 lead. It also seemed to give Moore an extra bit of spark as Andrew is able to finish out his stellar night by striking out the side in the eighth.
Moore gave way to Max Engelbrekt in the ninth inning, and Engelbrekt strikes out the one batter he faces to allow for Scott Schultz to come in and close the deal by getting North Dakota State to line out twice (including a long and scary looking Kleinendorst line out to left field) to finish out the game sending the Beavers on to the winner's bracket game tomorrow night against the UC Irvine Anteaters, who defeated UNLV in the afternoon game 10 to 3.
Overall it was a sluggish performance by Oregon State as a team, though the defense was solid enough, but in the end the game belonged to Andrew Moore and his spectacular performance. It was a pitching performance we came to expect from Moore in his first season with OSU, and it was an essential performance tonight for the Beavers to be able to move on past a more challenging first game match up against a very scrappy North Dakota State team.
Tomorrow promises to bring out another strong OSU pitching performance from All-American and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Jace Fry, but one does hope for more offense to off-set some of the unexpected drama that saw a box score that had OSU with 10 hits to the North Dakota State's 5. In the end though it did come out as a post-season W in the books, and a win that saw the Beavers at least not go the way of Florida, Florida State, and Louisiana-Lafayette; all first seeds in their regions who lost their openers.