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Beavers clinch Pape Grand Slam with 5-4 win

The Beavers won the Pape Grand Slam title Sunday afternoon with a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in front of 11,166 fans on a beautiful day at PGE Park. Down 4-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Beavers scored four unanswered runs-- one in the sixth, two in the seventh, and one in the eighth-- to seal the victory. OSU closer Kevin Rhoderick came into the game to pitch in the top of the ninth, and sat Georgia's three batters that came to the plate down in order. Rhoderick, who signed a letter of intent to Georgia before asking for a release and coming to Oregon State, recorded his second save of the season.

In the early innings, Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham was dominating the game offensively and defensively. He pulled off a great glove flip double play in the first inning, and hit home runs in his first two at bats. He was 3-4 on the day, with three RBI's. The home run in the first inning was a solo shot, but the homer he launched to center field in the fourth came with Michael Demperio on base. Those two homers put the Bulldogs up 3-1 at the time, and yet another home run came in the top of the sixth off the bat of first baseman Rich Poythress.

In the bottom of the sixth, down 4-1, the Beavers began their comeback. Jason Ogata led off the inning with a home run that ended up over the left field wall. The Beavers didn't score again that inning, but they did manage to get UGA Starter Nathan Moreau's pitch count up. He was relieved by Dean Weaver later in the sixth.

In the seventh, leadoff man Koa Kahalehoe got on board when he was hit by a pitch. Whether he was actually hit is debatable, but some good acting by Koa got him to first base. He stole second, and then after Brett Casey went down on strikes, Joey Wong's double past the outstretched glove of Lyle Allen in left field drove him Kahalehoe from second. That put a runner on second for Jason Ogata, who, with two outs, hit a single to  right that scored Joey from second. Just like that, the Beavers reentered the ballgame, and tied it at four.

Heading into the bottom of the eighth, the game still tied at 4-4, the Beavers knew they were running out of time to take the lead. Leadoff man Jordan Lennerton struck out, but John Wallace worked the count for a walk to get on base. Drew George singled straight up the middle, but then Koa Kahalehoe grounded out to Gordon Beckham on what was a spectacular play over the middle. With Ryan Ortiz at the plate and runners on second and third, the Beavers only needed a hit to take the lead. The didn't get a hit, but a wild pitch thrown by Joshua Fields produced what became the winning run for the Beavers. John Wallace scored from third easily on the ball that bounced towards the Georgia dugout. After the run scored, Ortiz walked and Joey Wong struck out, ending the inning.

It was at that point that OSU closer Kevin Rhoderick took over, striking out two of the three batters he faced, and forcing the third to tap a ball right in front of the plate that catcher Ryan Ortiz handled easily.

Greg Peavey, the freshman from Vancouver, Washington, started the game for the Beavers. He went six and two thirds innings, giving up four runs on seven hits against a talented Georgia lineup. He struck out seven and didn't walk a single batter. Blake Keitzman relieved Greg in the seventh and only faced one batter. He forced a groundout, getting the Beavers out of the seventh inning. Mark Grbavac came on for the eighth and pitched a great inning, getting the first two batters to ground out, then forcing power hitter Rich Poythress into a groundout to third.

All in all, it was a great series for the Beavers. They had some troubles on Saturday, but whenever you can have a series total of 29,322 fans come out to watch three games, two of them in mediocre weather, it says something about your program. To get a win on Sunday in front of a Pac-10 record crowd was great for this young team that hopes to improve as the season goes on.

Next up for the Beavers is a Tuesday meeting with the Portland Pilots back up in Portland. We'll have more on that game tomorrow.

GO BEAVERS!

--JB--