Oregon St. opened the baseball season with what was not a surprise, a Casey-ball 2-1 win in the bottom of the 9th inning over Northwestern in Surprise, AZ, though the way the game was won was something of a surprise.
Beaver pinch runner freshman Joe Gillette scored on a 1-out bases loaded walk-off balk call on Wildcat reliever Tommy Bordignon, not your normal way for a game to end.
Junior Andrew Moore made the first pitch of the season, and went 7 full solid innings, throwing 96 pitches before giving way to freshman Mitch Hickey, who allowed only 1 hit in 2 innings to get his first collegiate win.
Moore allowed only 5 hits, and struck out 9, without walking anyone, and only was really in any trouble twice. After a 3 up, 3 down 1st inning, Moore gave up a single and a double down the right field line to Jake Schieber, but got a strike out to get out of the game.
The 3rd inning didn't go as well, as Grant Peikert got a 1 out single, and scored on Scott Heelan's double to left field. But the Wildcats got 1 single, 1 runner that got on on an error on Oregon St. 3rd baseman Caleb Hamilton on a line shot off his glove, and 1 hit by pitch off Moore the rest of the day.
Hickey only allowed 1 single, to Joe Hoscheit, and Logan Ice gunned him down on a srike-em-out, throw-em-out double play.
But Moore only got a single run of support, as the Beavers left more runners on base than they got hit in the innings he was on the hill.
That came in the 6th, when another Oregon St. freshman, K J Harrison, who got the start at first base and in the #3 spot in the batting order, showed he might just be up to following in Michael Conforto's footsteps in that 3 spot, with a leadoff triple to right center.
Billy King, pinch hitting as the DH for Michael Howard followed up with an RBI double down the left field line, which chased Northwestern starter Brandon Magalonis, who allowed only 5 hits in his 5+ innings.
Jake Stolley, the first of 4 Wildcat relievers, shut things down though, and King was the 6th Beaver to that point that was stranded, and the 3rd in scoring position.
Extra innings were averted when Ice led off the bottom of the 9th with a single up the middle, and Gillette was sent on to run for him, advancing to second on Joey Jansen's sacrifice bunt.
Freshman Christian Donahue, who also had a solid day at second base, with 2 put outs and 3 assists, drew a walk though, bringing up the top of the order, and Jeff Hendirx. Bordignon pitched the Beavers' best hitter very carefully with the game on the line, and wound up walking him on a 3-1 count to load the bases, to bring up Trevor Morrison.
Morrison had had a hard day at the plate, and was 0-4 for the afternoon, with 2 strikeouts. But he never saw a pitch, as the balk walked Gillette in, and the Beavers off the field with the win.
It was a better start from his freshmen than head coach Pat Casey could have hoped for, getting a solid day from Harrison, a 2 for 4 day at bat from right fielder Elliott Carey, effective pinch running from Gillette, a hit and 2 walks from Donahue, and a solid close from Hickey.
Oregon St., 1-0 for the 76st time in 106 seasons, will face another B1G opponent tomorrow at noon, and will look to avenge an 8-7 loss last year against Michigan St., while Northwestern will play the late game tomorrow, against New Mexico, the Beavers' opponent Sunday and Monday.