The Beavers finally flashed some of their potential on Sunday, beating a quality team the way they'll be expected to all year; with great pitching and an offense that's going to get the job done.
Scott Schultz made the second start of his senior campaign and showed why a big deal was made over his decision to return to Oregon State for his final season. He allowed 6 hits over the full 9 innings, gave just 1 free pass to Indiana on a first-inning HBP, and struck out 6 Hoosiers. In a roller-coaster weekend with bullpen performances that have been less than serviceable, it truly was a huge performance from Schultz.
The Beavs missed some opportunities early, loading the bases with nobody out in the 2nd but seeing the inning slip away with a Logan Ice double play and Nick Rulli strikeout. Some small ball gained a 2nd and 3rd with 2 out in the 3rd but Dylan Davis couldn't bring any runs home. Eventually the Beavers would score, it seemed, but they were still looking for the clutch hit they needed.
Schultz' one blemish is in the 4th inning, which started with him allowing 3 straight hits, half of what he would in the entire game. Sean Travis led off with a double, Scott Donley singled him to 3rd, and Dustin DeMuth followed that with another single for the Hoosiers first and only run. Schultz escaped thanks to a line-drive double play to a diving Kavin Keyes at first, and then one of his 6 strikeouts.
The Beavers responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning, taking a lead they'd never give back. Indiana starter Will Coursen-Carr's lack of control finally hurt him, as Keyes led off the inning reaching first on a wild pitch strikeout. DH Gabe Clark put a single through the left side off the third baseman's glove, and the Beavers were threatening with first and third and nobody out. This time they did capitalize, as Ice tied the game with a single to right-center. Rulli picked up an RBI on a bunt base hit, giving the Beavs a 2-1 lead. An Andy Peterson strikeout and Caleb Hamilton groundout squashed any remaining chances in the inning.
With Schultz coasting (he allowed 2 baserunners over the final 5 frames), the Beavers finally blew the game open in the 7th. The Hoosiers made their only error of the day to lead off the inning, and boy was it a costly one. The Beavs would go on to send 10 men to the plate and score 6 runs with 2-outs. Trever Morrison, on base thanks to the error, moved to 3rd on a couple of sacrifices; a bunt from Peterson and a foulout to the catcher from Hamilton.
Luckily the heart of the lineup did their job. Michael Conforto's 2nd single of the day scored Morrison. After another Coursen-Carr wild pitch, he intentionally walked Davis before being removed from the game. He gave up just the 2 earned runs from the 4th, but surrendered 8 hits and walked 3 more. Half of his 6 strikeouts came in the first inning. Junior reliever Luke Harrison was very ineffective. Keyes laced a RBI double to left, Clark was hit by a pitch, and Ice picked up his 2nd and 3rd RBIs of the day with another single. Rulli drove in the final 2 runs of the inning on a double, giving him 3 RBIs as well. Mercifully for the Hoosiers, Morrison struck out to end the inning.
Every Beaver in the lineup reached base, and 7 of the 9 got a hit. Everybody except Peterson and Hamilton either scored a run or drove one in.
This feels like an important victory for the Beavs, who really needed a clutch pitching performance, and got it from a familiar source of clutch pitching; Scott Schultz. As great teams do, the offense made the Hoosiers pay for mistakes and made the scoreline much more lopsided than it could've been.
Oregon State faces Washington, who are 3-3-1 on the season and 1-2 on the weekend. They've taken big losses to Indiana and Nebraska, but knocked off Michigan State 4-1 on Sunday.