The Beavers took care of business on a rainy Friday night at Goss Stadium, opening up their series against a weaker team with a relatively stress-free victory. Oregon State won 5-2, and felt in control of the game from start to finish, as Andrew Moore cruised through the Cougars lineup and the offense took advantage of the opportunities they created.
Just as they did last week against USC, Washington State saved their ace, lefthander Joe Pistorese, for game 2, opting instead to start senior Sean Hartnett. Hartnett got through the first 2 innings unscathed, but the top of the Beavers' lineup wasn't kind to him when they got to face him again.
Jeff Hendrix led off the 3rd with a single, one of his 2 hits on the night, and was sacrificed to 2nd, setting the stage for KJ Harrison. Harrison was walked his first time up, and once again Hartnett fell behind in the count 2-0. This is a good example of how crucial it is to have a Gabe Clark-type protecting Harrison, as instead of just sending Harrison to the empty base, Hartnett threw a belt-high fastball that Harrison sent to the not-so-empty parking lot behind the left field fence.
Andrew Moore, meanwhile, was busy doing Andrew Moore things, allowing just 1 baserunner through the first 5 innings, and that one was thrown out stealing by Logan Ice. The offense extended their lead in the 5th inning, when a Trever Morrison single and a pair of walks to Harrison and Clark loaded the bases with nobody out. A couple of productive outs from Scotland Church and Logan Ice made it a 4-0 game heading to the 6th inning.
Moore ran into some trouble in that 6th frame, when an infield single, Caleb Hamilton error, and walk gave the Cougars a bases-loaded opportunity of their own, but with 2 outs. Washington State shortstop Ian Sagdal gave Beavers fans a scare with a deep fly ball, but it was caught short of the left field wall by Kyle Nobach.
Washington State pushed 2 runs across in the 7th, when they strung together 3 singles and a groundball that was hit too softly for the Beavers' infield to turn a double play on. However, the Beavers answered right back in the bottom of the inning, when a Nobach smash down the right field line plated Elliott Cary. Nobach was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple, but the baserunning mistake wouldn't cost the Beavers.
Moore surrendered a one-out triple in the 8th inning, but followed a clutch strikeout with a routine flyout to keep the lead at 5-2. He seemed all set to get his first complete game of the season, especially after notching his 10th strikeout of the game for the second out in the ninth, but that was when pitching coach Nate Yeskie made the walk to the mound and the call to the bullpen. Freshman Luke Heimlich recorded a strikeout to earn himself a 1-out save, and the team a 5-2 victory that improved the Beavers to 16-5 for the season, and squared their conference record at 2-2.
Washington S. dropped to 12-9, and 1-3 in the Pac-12.
If Andrew Moore keeps pitching the way he has to start the season, the Beavers might not lose another Friday night game this year. He threw 122 pitches over his 8.2 innings in which he struck out 10, walked 1, and gave up 2 runs on 6 hits.
Tomorrow afternoon (weather permitting), the Beavers will look to prove they can win without Moore on the mound, as Drew Rasmussen will face off against the Cougars' best starter, senior Joe Pistorese.