Conforto Swings Oregon State To Sweep

USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State earns its second straight sweep with a 5-0 shutout of California.

Michael Conforto drove in three runs, including a two run homer off the foul pole in right field to start the game, to lead Oregon State to a 5-0 win on Sunday in Berkeley. Jace Fry was brilliant on the mound, one-hitting California in front of 1,303 fans.

Those fans were treated to a tidy one hour and 55 minute game. The Beavers took the crowd out of the game early (at least the ones wearing blue and gold) when Conforto blasted a ball through the East Bay wind off the foul pole in right field. The homer scored two for the visitors, and it would be all they needed to pick up up the win on Sunday afternoon.

Junior Jace Fry got the start for Oregon State, and he was masterful, as usual. He threw a complete game shutout, allowing only one hit and striking out six. Fry faced just three more than the minimum in the win. It was his ninth of the season against just one loss. The lefty has cemented himself as one of the top pitchers in the country.

Right-hander Ryan Mason didn't turn in a terrible performance for the Golden Bears. He pitched a near-perfect performance after the first inning, getting in trouble only once more after an error behind him started a Beaver barrage in the third. Mason was pulled after tossing 118 pitches in eight innings.

Oregon State got some insurance in the aforementioned third frame, starting a rally when Trever Morrison reached on an error by the shortstop. He stole second after a Jeff Hendrix flyout, then Andy Peterson took first on a walk. Conforto then got his third RBI of the day on a double to right, and Dylan Davis brought in Peterson and Conforto with a single to center.

That did it for the day in the runs column. Senior Vince Bruno got the hosts lone hit of the day in the bottom half of the third on a single up the middle, but he was quickly erased on a double play by the next batter. Fry allowed the next Cal baserunner in the fifth when third baseman Lucas Erceg was hit by a pitch. It was unable to get anything going, however, as the next two batters both made outs.

The Beavers had a chance to really break things open in the top of the seventh when they loaded the bases after recording a quick two outs, but Davis blew the opportunity when he fouled out weakly to first. Of course, Fry squashed any Bears momentum in the bottom half of the frame by getting two flyouts and a swinging strikeout.

The game ended in the ninth this time around. Pinch hitter Chris Paul struck out to lead things off, then sophomore John Soteropulos popped out to short for the second out. Devin Pearson extended the game by walking, but Fry got Devon Rodriguez to fly out deep to center field to finish things off.

Visiting fans were treated to their third win of the weekend, all coming by five runs or more. The game started under mostly sunny skies and the temperature in the low 60's, but winds increased and clouds rolled in throughout the afternoon. Mason lost his first game of the year, dropping to 4-1 overall.

Beaver fans didn't have to worry about the bullpen this time around thanks to Fry's dominating performance. It's clear that they have one of the best starting rotations in the nation, but the question is, will that be enough for a return trip to Omaha?

The road sweep solidifies Oregon State's status as one of the top three teams in the nation. It now sits at ninth in the RPI, 15 spots ahead of the next highest team in the Pac-12.

The Beavers improved to 34-8 with the win and 17-4 in Pac-12 play. The Golden Bears dropped to 19-24 and the sweep ended any hopes of an NCAA Tournament appearance. Oregon State returns to action on Tuesday night at Oregon, in a game to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

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