Final Score: USC 5, OSU 2.
USC dealt the Beavers another big blow on Saturday afternoon at Goss Stadium, where the Trojans used three runs in the top of the ninth inning to break open a game that had been tied at two since the third inning.
After USC scored their first run four pitches into the game, the Beavers countered with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Joey Wong led off with a single and Ryan Ortiz was hit by a pitch... they would eventually get to third and second, respectively, with two outs. When it looked as if the Beavers may leave the two runners stranded in the first inning, it was Stefen Romero who came through with a single to center field to score both Wong and Ortiz and give the Beavers a 2-1 lead.
USC would score another run in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. It was basically a pitching duel from that point on.
The Beavers left the go-ahead runner(s) on in five innings in the game, with their best opportunity to score coming in the eighth. Ryan Ortiz singled to start the inning, then Norris laid down a bunt to advance him to second. The Trojans attempted to throw to second and get the force out on Ortiz, but he beat out the throw, putting two on with no outs for the Beavers. Oregon State went back to the bunting game in a no-outs situation, but Romero's bunt was hit sharply to Billy Pinkerton who was charging from third, who threw out Ortiz at third (shortstop Grant Green was covering). Green then tossed it across the diamond to first, in time to get Romero for an unorthadox 5-6-3 double play.
"It's just lack of execution, lack of offensive production, lack of potency at the plate, lack of competitiveness at the plate," Beavers coach Pat Casey said. "We've got to be a better offensive club to compete in this league."
Jim Beseda of the Oregonian reveals that Casey was expecting Romero to swing away, with Pinkerton crashing hard from third:
Casey was miffed that Romero didn't swing away in that situation.
"That's textbook baseball," Casey said. "They crash, you swing. They stay back, you bunt.
"We've been here since September and I believe that Stefen is well aware of what to do. I don't know if he didn't see the third baseman. I don't know what he was thinking. But I heard people yelling, 'Swing!' I heard the guy on deck yelling, 'Swing!' Both guys charging ... it's an easy one."
Romero said swinging was the last thing on his mind.
"In that situation, I'm just trying to get the bunt down and move guys over for the next at-bat," Romero said. "I squared late, so it was a little hard for me to pull back at the last minute.
"I saw the guys charging at the last minute. It was a perfect strike and I got it down. But unfortunately it was a double play."
When I first saw the play, it seemed like Romero was bunting from the start. It wasn't until I read Beseda's account that I realized Romero was supposed to swing away in that situation. It seemed like most people in the stands felt that the bunt was on, and that USC just simply got the better of the situation. But apparently not.
Peavey ended up going seven and one third innings in the game, giving up two runs on five hits. He walked three, and struck out six. Kraig Sitton, who came on to finish up the eighth and start the ninth, took the brunt of USC's offensive attack in the ninth inning, as he was accountable for all three USC runs and the four hits in the inning. Sam Gaviglio came on to finish things up in the ninth. He recorded two outs-- a groundout and a flyout.
The Beavers and Trojans will play Game 3 today at 12:00 p.m.