San Jose St.'s first ever visit to Goss Stadium got off to a poor start for the Spartans, and went down hill from there, as 24th ranked Oregon St. jumped ahead early, and rode the latest in a string of strong pitching performances in their 10 game spring break home stand to 6-1 win.
Beaver leadoff hitter Jeff Hendrix led off with a triple to right center, and scored on a sacrifice fly to deep right field to open a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and Oregon St. scratched out a second run in their second at bat, when Scotland Church scored on a double steal, after singling to right, stealing second, and advancing to third on a bad call balk.
Church has 2 stolen bases in his brief college career, and both came in the same trip around the bases.
The Spartans answered with a run i the top of the 3rd, when Alec deWatteville doubled down the left field line, on a ball that barely got past Beaver third baseman Michael Gretler, followed by an RBI double that was scored a single Ozzy Braff.
That was the extent of the trouble Oregon St. freshman Sam Tweedt would see though. Tweedt responded by setting down 15 Spartans in a row, before giving up a single with 2 out in the 8th.
The Beavers broke the game open in the 4th, with a major dose of small ball surprisingly figuring prominently in the production.
Kyle Nobach got things started with a double to left, but the Beavers then loaded the bases without the ball leaving the infield, as Scotland Church walked, and Dane Lund beat out a bunt. Caleb Hamilton came through with a 2 RBI single, and then Oregon St. loaded the bases again on Gretler's bunt single.
Hendrix couldn't come through, but Trevor Morrison, who had the game winning hit in the 11th inning of Sunday's 2-1 win that completed a weekend sweep of Washington St., did, even though he didn't get the ball out of the infield either. But the Spartans could only get an out at second on a slow grounder that drove in Lund and Hamilton.
With Tweedt in the middle of setting down San Jose St. for 4 straight innings, what had been a decent evening for baseball turned miserable in the 6th, as the rain set in, sending half of what might have been 500 onlookers at the beginning of the game (Oregon St. claimed an attendance of 2,292, but that is really total tickets sold, counting all the season tickets) home, and soaking any hope the Spartans might have had of mounting a rally.
The only things those who left missed was the long awaited first appearance of the season of heralded local freshman Jackson Soto, who pinch hit for Lund in the 8th, but struck out, and a solid 9th inning of relief by John Pomeroy, who set San Jose St. down in order, the 7th time that happened in the game.
Tweedt got his 3rd start as a mid-week starter, and improved to 4-0 for the season, after throwing 103 pitches in 8 innings, allowing only the 3 hits, and just 1 walk (in the first, which Lund promptly threw out on a steal attempt), while striking out 4.
The 5 run lead meant Pomeroy didn't even get credit for a save.
San Jose St. starter Kalei Contrades was pulled after 1 inning, but still took the loss, dropping to 2-4 for the season, even though Jonathan Hernandez, who worked 1 out into the 7th inning in relief of Contrades, gave up 5 of the 6 Oregon St. runs.
The light-hearted moment of the evening came in the first inning, when Oregon St.'s Friday night ace Andrew Moore actually appeared on the field as the Beavers' designated hitter, before being lifted without stepping into the box in favor of Billy King.
(King would ground out, and be in turn lifted for Gabe Clark, so Moore wouldn't have done any worse!)
The Beavers improved to 19-5, while the Spartans slipped to 7-17. Oregon St. will look to sweep the 2 game series, and even the all time series that had been played entirely in San Jose prior to today at 11 wins apiece (there's been 1 tie) tomorrow night when the teams meet again.