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Late Inning Meltdown Dooms Beavers in Rubber Match

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The young Beavers drop their first conference series when they allowed 5 runs in the 7th and 8th innings, and lose 7-4 to the Sun Devils.

In a tight game mistakes stood out and the Beavers were the first to give one up. A throwing error on Eckert in the 1st allowed a runner to advance to third with two outs. The next batter would bring home that runner and the Beavers dug an early hole at 0-1 after one inning.

The Beavers would create several chances to answer however, starting with getting runners on the corners with no outs in the top of the third. They were only able to plate one on a Trever Morrison fielder's choice though, which would be a recurring theme on the day.

In fact that same sequence happened again in the next inning, with Dane Lund bringing in a run on a groundout, but the rally was again held to one run. It did take the lead for OSU, but the Sun Devils answered quickly thanks to more help from the Beavers. On a fly ball to left field, it was caught in the wind and was moving around which turned around Joe Gillette and it hit off his arm, which allowed RJ Ybarra to advance from first to third on what should have been an out. He was brought home on a groundout and the game stayed tied 2-2 through 4 innings.

The top of the 5th brought in another Beaver chance, and another escape by the Sun Devils. Hendrix and Morrison got on base to set up at the corners yet again which chased ASU starter Brett Lilek from the game. Jordan Aboites came in for him and gave up a HBP to load the bases. OSU could not finish the job though with Gabe Clark striking out and Joe Gillette hitting it back to the pitcher who threw back to 1st for a double play to escape without giving up a run. ASU went down quietly so no momentum shifted to the Sun Devils, but the OSU offense kept shooting itself in the leg.

They kept creating chances though and opened the 6th with a sliding double by Kyle Nobach. Dane Lund laid down a perfect bunt perfecly next to the third base line to get runners at the corners with no outs for Caleb Hamilton. He came through with a single, and was followed by a double play hit into by Donahue, but Lund still made it home. That brought the score to 4-2 Beavers, and seemed to be a big moment finally coming through with RISP.

On the defensive side Travis Eckert was pitching well moving through the middle innings with minimal effort, allowing the occasional base runner, but generally producing soft contact that the defense converted into outs. He took his start into the 7th where he allowed two on with two out.  Luke Heimlich came in and struggled, giving up a 4 pitch walk to load the bases before he allowed a 2 RBI single to Colby Woodmansee which tied the game at 4 after 7 innings.

The Beavers still made more chances, with Caleb Hamilton getting on with a single and a Donahue walk setting the table for Jeff Hendrix. This was a significant play in the game as Hendrix, as a leader and as one of the top hitters for Oregon State, could retake the lead for Oregon State. He quickly fell behind in the count at 1-2 and then was forced to swing on a tough pitch. He flew out easily to right field and another threat fell away harmlessly.

This led to the disastrous bottom of the 8th for the Beavers. Heimlich gave up a lead off base hit and then could not field a sac bunt which led to him being replaced by Mitch Hickey. He was a little wild upon his entrance however, it was a struggle to get the ball across the plate. He walked the first batter and hit the next which pulled ASU in front. That got Hickey the hook as well and Pomeroy entered the game. The Beavers still had a chance to keep it to a one run deficit, but Pomeroy could not beat Andrew Snow and he smacked it into left field for two more runs and the Beavers were down three. That was it for the rest of the inning and OSU went into the final frame down by 3.

Morrison added a little intrigue by getting on base, but ASU closer Ryan Burr came in and put down KJ Harrison, Gabe Clark, and Billy King to take down the Beavers.

A tough loss to a good team, especially when they had the opportunities to win it. The Beavers lost to ASU in the first series of last season so there can still be hope for this team as well.

The hitting struggled in comparison to the last weeks against lesser competition and the bullpen as well. These are mostly just a bunch of freshman however and this was a solid performance against a good club. If they take this loss and build off of it they could become a pretty good team by the end of the year.