Oregon St. came from behind twice, and then the Beaver bullpen shut down Arizona to pull out a 4-3 win over the defending NCAA National Champion 'Cats Saturday night in Tucson. It's the 4th consecutive win for Oregon St. in Tucson, dating back to 2011, and guarantees a win of the Pac-12 season opening series, after last night's 6-2 win in the opener.
Freshman Andrew Moore went 2 outs into the 6th inning, and though he wasn't at his sharpest, allowing 9 of the 10 hits the 'Cats touched up Beaver pitching for, including an RBI triple by Cody Ramer that put Arizona up 2-1 in the 5th inning, Moore still battled well enough to become the Pac-12's winningest pitcher, moving to 5-0.
Moore made life more difficult for himself with a couple of off-target pitches in the early going as well, both of which were initially charged as wild pitches, but were subsequently changed to passed balls. Regardless of the nuances of the decisions of the Arizona official scorer, both were still off target.
The first one proved harmless, but the second one set up the ability for Arizona to score Ramer on a sacrifice fly by Riley Moore to take a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning.
The quartet of Max Englebrekt, Cole Brocker, Tony Bryant, and Scott Schultz shut Arizona down down the stretch, as the Oregon St. bullpen continues to pitch outstandingly.
The Beavers struggled offensively, being set down in order the entire first time through the order, and also squandered a couple of opportunities in the 5th and 8th innings to score the runs that would have made the seemingly endless game that took well over 3 1/2 hours, and seemed at times to threaten tomorrow's noon start time for the series finale, a lot more comfortable for Oregon St., though the solid pitching Arizona got from James Farris, Tyler Crawford, and Matthew Troupe had a lot to do with it.
Down 1-0 in the 5th, the Beavers got lead off singles by Danny Hayes and Kavin Keyes, but could only score Hayes, on the first of 2 RBI sacrifice flys in the game by Jake Rodriguez, stranding 2 runners in scoring position.
Arizona took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, going up 3-1 after Ramer came home after his triple on a single by Moore.
Oregon St. took the lead for good in their next at bat, as they finally got to Farris, who took the loss, and fell to 3-2. Tyler Smith and Michael Conforto led off with singles, and both scored on Dylan Davis' 2 RBI double down the left field line. Davis advanced to third on a wild pitch by Farris, and scored on another fly ball by Rodriguez.
But the Beavers had runners on 2nd and 3rd with just the 1 out, and got nothing more out of it, forcing the bullpen to shut the 'Cats out over the last 4 innings. Fortunately, they were up to the task, as the quarter allowed only 1 hit, and Schultz delivered 6 strikes in 8 pitches, to get strikeouts for the last 2 outs, and pick up his 3rd save of the season. That was no small accomplishment, considering the 'Cats came into the game with a team batting average of .318.
Oregon St. improved to 18-1, and are 2-0 in the Pac-12, while Arizona dropped to 15-7, and 0-2 early on in the conference race.
The Beavers will go for what would be a very difficult, but highly impressive, sweep in the mid-day heat tomorrow at Hi Corbett Field.