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Oregon State baseball wins conference opener over ASU 1 to 0

In the Pac-12 (11) opener for the Oregon State baseball team against the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Beavers grind out a 1 to 0 pitching battle win.

It was the start, the early start, to conference play for both teams and it was a match up between the team's Friday night aces, junior RHP Andrew Moore (1-0, 1.76) and sophomore RHP Seth Martinez (1-0, 2.25).   In the end Moore once again did not get the decision; but Moore was able to go 7 and 1/3 innings, struck out three, had one walk (an intentional walk), gave up seven hits, and more importantly gave up no runs.  He was also nicely assisted by his relievers who combined did not walk any batters and gave up only one additional hit.

OSU was coming in with a 10 game win streak (14-3), and off of Coach Pat Casey's career 900th win that came last Tuesday against the Portland Pilots.   The 16th ranked ASU (10-5) team was coming off their own mid-week victory over UNLV, 5 to 4.

In the first inning both offenses picked around the starting pitchers, but could not punch through for a run even with runners on base.   Oregon State led off with shortstop Trever Morrison hitting a shot past the ASU shortstop for a one out single, but Morrison was later picked off at first.   This second out on-base mistake was costly with first base KJ Harrison and DH Gabe Clark walking, but outfielder Michael Howard grounds out to the pitcher Martinez for the third out.   On defense third base Caleb Hamilton made a nice diving first out play, but ASU's Jake Peevyhouse was able to get the Sun Devils' their first base hit.  Moore was able to force a pop-up to the infield and then get a fly-out to center field to end the inning.

In the second inning Oregon State's second base Christian Donahue was able to get on base with a single right back up the middle but was left on as center fielder Jeff Hendrix grounds out.  Arizona State though is put down 1-2-3 by Andrew Moore, which included Moore's first strikeout of the game.

From here both starters really settled in as the game became a solid pitching and defensive affair for the rest of the way in.  In the third inning Arizona State was able to get a base runner on with Johnny Sewald's base hit, but Oregon State and Moore return the pick off favor and catch Sewald leaning a bit too much at first base.  In the fourth Michael Howard looped a base hit into left field, but Kyle Nobach bunted into a fielder's choice and then catcher Logan Ice hit into a 3-6-1 double play.

Center fielder Jeff Hendrix nailed a two out double in the fifth inning, but he is stranded as Morrison quickly flied out to center field on a first pitch swing.  OSU was then able to weather a lead off single by ASU's Trever Allen to get the next three batters out.  From there both teams go 1-2-3 in the sixth to take the game into the seventh inning still all tied at 0 to 0.

In the seventh inning Kyle Nobach reached on a fielding error by Arizona State, and Logan Ice was able to advance him to second on a sacrifice bunt.  Nobach then was able to reach third on a Hamilton ground out.  The Beavs still were not able to score the first run of the game after a strong defensive play by Arizona State's shortstop Colby Woodmansee, who barely throws out Donahue for the inning ending out.  ASU's RJ Ybarra then smacked a one hit single to left field, and Arizona State was able get two runners in scoring position after a throwing error by Caleb Hamilton.  It was a tough play on a down the line bunt, but still it was an ominous sign for the visiting team as the Sun Devils looked posed to break open the scoring drought.  The Beavs intentionally walked Brian Serven to load the bases up with one out.  In probably the most important play of the game pinch hitter Zach Cerbo bunted the ball back to Andrew Moore, who bare hands the ball and with a scoop throw gets the runner out at home plate and this allowed Logan Ice to also gun down Cerbo at first for a spectacular inning ending double play.

Oregon State on offense went quickly, and quietly in the eighth inning, and then Arizona State's David Greer smacked a lead off double to get the Sun Devils again back into scoring position.  This was followed by one out hit batter, which led to the Beavers going to the bullpen with freshman LHP reliever Luke Heimlich replacing Andrew Moore (who had 101 pitches at this point).  The relief appearance did not start advantageously for the Beavers, as a wild pitch advanced the runner from second to third, but Heimlich made up for this with a defensive play on a bunt where he was able to throw out the runner at home.  After this play though Coach Yeskie went back to the bullpen and brought in sophomore RHP John Pomeroy, and Pomeroy was able to get ASU to ground out to Trever Morrison to get out of a nerve wracking bottom of the eighth for the Beavs.

The Sun Devils went to their own bullpen at the top of the ninth with senior RHP Darin Gillies who was able to get Gabe Clark to fly out, but Gillies then gave up a one out walk to Michael Howard, who was replaced by Joey Jansen as a pinch runner.  Oregon State was then gifted another base runner with a throwing error by the ASU shortstop allowing Nobach to reach first safely, which also advanced Jansen to second with one out.   The Sun Devils then replaced Gillies with junior RHP Ryan Burr. After a huge strikeout by Logan Ice, number eight in the order Caleb Hamilton breaks the scoreless tie with an up the middle single to score Jansen from second.  It was the first and only run of the game.

In the bottom of the ninth inning the Beavs brought out closer freshman RHP Mitch Hickey, who quickly got the lead off hitter to ground out to Morrison.  Hickey was then helped out by Hamilton for the second out, but Arizona State stayed alive with their eighth hit of the game, a single by Brian Serven.  The Beavs were able to close the game out with a ground out play by Harrison throwing to Hickey covering the bag to take the first game of the series 1 to 0.

Oregon State scored their 1 run on 5 hits and had 1 error.  John Pomeroy earned the win with his relief appearance for his first decision of the season (though he only pitched to one batter) and Mitch Hickey earned his third save of the season.  The Sun Devils were able to get 8 hits, but could not score a run and had 2 errors.  Ryan Burr received the loss to go to 2 and 1.

The two teams will come back at again tomorrow evening with the first pitch at Phoenix Municipal Stadium scheduled for 6:00pm PST.   The Beavs will go to freshman RHP Drew Rasmussen (2-0, 1.88) and ASU will go with junior LHP Ryan Kellogg (3-0, 3.90).