After an out of character weekend in San Diego, the Oregon St. baseball team, now 6th ranked in the nation, was back to normal Tuesday night against Portland. And normal was more good than bad, resulting in the Beavers beating the Pilots for the 16th time in a row, with a 7-5 non-conference win.
After seeing Portland overcome an early 1-0 Oregon St. lead with single runs in the 4th and 5th innings, Pilots coach Chris Sperry made the strange move of removing starter Matt McCallister, who had been very effective, in the 6th inning.
Portland's relief pitching wasn't nearly as effective, and the Pilots, along with the modest crowd of 1,918 on hand on a comfortable evening at Goss Stadium, saw Andy Peterson put Oregon St. ahead with another RBI bunt single that scored Jake Rodriguez.
The next inning, Danny Hayes delivered a 2 RBI double, and Rodriguez followed that with a 2 run homer, his 1st of the season and 4th of his career.
"We started slow but picked it up and it's good to get back into the `W' category," Oregon St. head coach Pat Casey said. "Offensively, we did what we needed to do, especially toward the end of the game."
Meanwhile, the Oregon St. pitching staff was back in better form. Starter Dan Child worked into the 4th inning, giving up 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 run. Cole Brocker took over, as Casey limited Child's pitch count enough to ensure he will be available to work this weekend in the Beavers' trip to Los Angeles to play UCLA.
Brocker had his best outing of the season, finishing the 4th and working the 5th and 6th, striking out 4 against 4 hits and no walks, and only 1 run, before handing the ball over to Scott Schultz for the last 3 innings. As a result, Brocker got his first decision and win of the season. It was his first career win as well.
Schultz breezed through the 7th and 8th innings, but a couple of middle infield miscues opened the door, and Portland plated 3 runs in the 9th before Schultz finally slammed the door on the Pilots to pick up his 6th save of the season. The Oregon St. defense had been pretty solid all evening up to that point.
Colin Feldtman, the first of 4 Portland relievers, who walked Rodriguez, gave up an RBI single to Jerad Casper, and then the RBI bunt to Peterson, all in the 6th inning, took the loss, his first of the year, dropping him to 2-1. Portland fell to 11-17 as a result of the defeat.
Casper, having also driven in Kavin Keyes for Oregon St.'s first run in the 2nd inning, joined Hayes and Rodriguez in having 2 RBI nights.
With the win, Oregon St. will have a winning non-conference season again this year, something they have accomplished every year in this century, with 1999 the last time the Beavers lost more out of conference games than they won.
Oregon St. improved to 23-4 for the season, and will take their 5-1 Pac-12 record up against the Bruins starting Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. 10th ranked UCLA only trails the second place Beavers by 1/2 game in the conference race, as both teams try to chase down the front flying Oregon Ducks.