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OSU Pounds Portland (Again), Casey Claims win 900

Sam Tweedt has solidified himself as the midweek starter, after improving to 3-0 for the season.
Sam Tweedt has solidified himself as the midweek starter, after improving to 3-0 for the season.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. pounded Portland once again Tuesday night, this time for a 12-3 win, the Beavers 23rd in a row at the expense of the Pilots.

The win was also Oregon St.'s 10th win in a row, and notably, was win number 900 in coach Pat Casey's career.

It was actually more Casey-like than some of the recent big-bat blowouts, with small ball and opponents' miscues figuring in a lot of the runs. Oregon St. scored in 6 of their 8 at bats, but really only had 1 big inning, plating 5 runs in the 3rd.

The story was more about the overall good pitching by a trio of the newcomer pitchers on the staff. Freshman Sam Tweedt started and though he hit a couple of bumps, worked well enough before handing the ball over to fellow freshman Luke Heimlich in the 6th inning that Tweedt improved to 3-0, and there was no save opportunity despite the fact that Heimlich and sophomore John Pomeroy didn't allow a hit the rest of the way. Tweedt has won both of his starts, both of which have come against Portland.

Oregon St. had opened a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when Trevor Morrison bunted his way on, moved to 3rd on KJ Harrison''s single to right, and scored on Gabe Clark's RBI left field fly, but blew it open in the 3rd.

The big inning started with free passes, as Christian Donahue drew a leadoff walk, and the Portland starter Jordan Wilcox hit Jeff Hendrix on the ankle with a pitch. Donahue scored on Morrison's bunt single and Pilot 3rd baseman Cody Lenahan's error, and Hendrix followed him home on Harrison's RBI sacrifice.

Wilcox would wind up taking the loss, and drop to 1-2 for the year.

Gabe Clark drew one of his 3 walks on the night, and both he and Morrison moved up on a balk, and were in position for both to score on Michael Hamilton's 2 RBI single. Kyle Nobach's RBI double off the left field wall pushed Hamilton across, and pushed the score to 6-0 after 3 innings.

Tweedt had been sailing along, but saw Portland get right back into the game in the top of the 4th, when Turner Gill followed up a leadoff single by Michael Lucarelli by bouncing a ball off the top of the left field wall for the 2 run homer that pulled the Pilots to within 6-2.

Tweedt settle down, and got back to back strikeouts, and then got an assist from Nobach, who made a catch in left center while banging off the wall, which ended the inning, and earned a bench emptying round of congratulations.

Oregon St. got the runs back in the bottom of the 4th, on a bases loaded infield RBI single by Clark that only got half way to 3rd base, and a sacrifice fly by Howard, who had 3 RBIs on the night.

It might have been more, but Harrison was ruled out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch, though replay showed Portland relief pitcher Kurt Yinger actually tagged his own leg, which was legally blocking the plate, but also blocked his tag attempt. By the time he slid the glove up his leg and actually tagged Harrison, Harrison's other foot was on the plate. No one saw that until looking at the play on the highlights though.

The Beavers added a single run in the bottom of the 5th, starting the inning by bookending a bunt with singles, but the Pilots answered that in the top of the 6th, as Tweedt finally ran out of gas.

Caleb Whalen led off with a double off the well-hammered left field wall, and a walk to Gill put runners on the corners when Tweedt handed the ball to Heimlich.

Luke Heimlich

Heimlich, above, got a groundout, but that still scored Whalen to make it 9-3, but then got out of the inning with another ground out.

Oregon St. loaded the bases again i the 6th, but got only 1 run on an RBI fly by Logan Ice, who didn't start, but took over behind the plate in the 4th inning.

Heimlich set the Pilots down in order in the 7th, and the Beavers added 2 more runs, this time the product of an error, a walk, a Harrison sacrifice fly, and another wild pitch, to go up 12-3.

The game was really beginning to drag, but Pomeroy picked up the pace, getting 3 ground outs to the left side to retire the Pilots in order in the 8th.

Portland reliever Jake Hawken returned the favor by setting Oregon St. down in order for only the second time all night, but after issuing a leadoff walk in the top of the 9th, Pomeroy put on a power pitching performance, firing 3 consecutive strikeouts to end the evening.

Beavers High 5

While the Beavers were exchanging high 5s, Casey, fittingly, simply turned and walked down the dugout steps, and you couldn't tell it wasn't his 9th career win instead of his 900th.

Oregon St. improved to 14-3, and head to Tempe to open Pac-12 play against Arizona St. this weekend, starting Friday night. The win, coupled with last Wednesday's 14-2 win in Portland, clinched the season's triangular series with the Pilots, which concludes April 14 at Volcanoes' Stadium in Keizer.

Portland has now lost 5 in a row, and dropped to 4-16. The Pilots also head south next, opening their West Coast Conference campaign this weekend with a series at San Diego.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com