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Beavers Grind Out Sweep of Cal with Late Inning Heroics

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It was yet another great day for baseball at Goss Stadium, where the Beavers clinched their first Pac-10 series sweep since 2006. (Photo by Alex Francis)
It was yet another great day for baseball at Goss Stadium, where the Beavers clinched their first Pac-10 series sweep since 2006. (Photo by Alex Francis)

It was a day in which the Beavers did a lot to give the California Golden Bears opportunities to steal the third game of the series, which they nearly did, but in the end, it was Oregon State who emerged victorious 5-4 in 11 innings at Goss Stadium in Corvallis. 

Jorge Reyes started the game for the Beavers, allowing just one run over the course of seven innings. He has now gone seven or more innings in his last three outings, accumulating a 1.71 ERA in the process. Against Cal on Sunday, he scattered seven hits over hi seven innings, walking just one batter and striking out six. 

"The last three of four starts Jorge has been lights out," catcher Ryan Ortiz said after the game. "He's keeping the ball down and throwing with velocity. His slider is great. When he has confidence in his slider, he throws great."

The Beavers got on the board first in the opening inning. After John Wallace led off with a flyout to center field, the next five batters reached base for the Beavers. Joey Wong scored the first run of the game when Jared Norris drew a walk with the bases loaded. Adalberto Santos would also score in the inning via a passed ball.

In the third, two consecutive singles by Stefen Romero and Jared Norris put runners on the corners with one one out, and Ryan Ortiz brought in Romero with a double to right field to put the Beavers up 3-0.

The game would keep that same score until the eighth inning, when Cal looked to mount a late-game comeback. They scored one run in the eighth after Dwight Tanaka and Brian Guinn both singled... Tanaka would score from third as part of a double play ball hit by Blake Smith.

In the ninth, with Oregon State closer Kevin Rhoderick on the mound, the Bears countinued their comeback. Rhoderick struggled early with his control, walking the first batter of the inning on four pitches, and going 2-0 on Michael Brady before giving up a base hit. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Rhoderick again walked a Cal batter, loading the bases with one out. He was able to record a strikeout against Dwight Tanaka to get closer to escaping the jam, but Brian Guinn poked a single into right field, scoring Danny Oh and Michael Brady to tie the game at three.

To extra innings the game went, with both teams drawing a blank in the tenth. But in the eleventh, Cal's Michael Brady led off against Oregon State pitcher Sam Gaviglio with a double to left, and was advanced to third on a bunt, putting a runner on third for the Bears with no outs. Brady would score on a groudout by Austin Booker, but the damage had been done, and the Beavers entered the bottom of the eleventh down one.

Leadoff man John Wallace's liner to left was robbed by a diving Danny Oh to begin the inning, an ominious sign for any sort of rally for the Beavers. But after Kevin Miller walked both Joey Wong and Adalberto Santos consecutively, the entire dynamic of the game changed. It was Stefen Romero who drove in the tying run, Joey Wong, with a single to left. But the Beavers wouldn't stop there-- Ryan Ortiz came through with a walk-off single to left-center field that scored Santos and won the game for the Beavers.

"He threw me two curveballs for balls, one in the dirt, one up high" said Ortiz of the game-winning at bat. "I knew he had to come in the zone, because if he didn't, he would be going 3-0 on me. I was looking for a 2-0 fastball, and put a good swing on it."

Although the Beavers found a way to win the game, there were lots of things that could have been done better in Pat Casey's eyes. The Beavers left 12 runners on base in the game, any one of which would have provided more run support for the pitchers and potentially averted extra innings. 

"Leaving the bases loaded is something we need to work on as a team... we need those timely hits." Ryan Ortiz said after the game. 

And even though Jorge Reyes flourished on the mound in his start, Kevin Rhoderick struggled in the ninth inning when he came in to close. 

"It was just a bad day for Kevin," said Ortiz. "He's still young, and he still has to learn. He has such good stuff that he doesn't need to throw as hard as he can. He needs to just spot up his pitches. He'll learn from this, and be better in the future."

The Beavers now hit the road for a trip to Arizona, where they'll play the Wildcats in Tuscon in a weekend series. After that, it's a midweek two-game series against BYU before the Beavers host USC next weekend. 

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)