There was some buzz surrounding Saturday's matchup between Oregon State and Cal Poly, as it was the return of Drew Rasmussen, who threw a perfect game last weekend. It took 3 pitches for the Mustangs to end any thoughts of a repeat performance, as leadoff batter Mark Mathias lined a single into left field. 2 pitches later, the Mustangs ended Rasmussen's shutout, as a pair of one-pitch at-bats garnered a single and a sacrifice fly.
That certainly wasn't the start the Beavers were looking for, especially after Friday night's 8-1 debacle. Rasmussen quickly settled down, retiring 11 straight batters in a stretch spanning from the 2nd to the 5th inning, but the offense took some more time to get their feet under them. Oregon State had their chances in those middle innings, getting the leadoff man on base in the 3rd and 5th, and loading the bases with two outs in the 4th.
However, it wasn't until the 6th that the next runs would cross the plate, and unfortunately for Beavers' fans, it was in the top half of the inning. Rasmussen surrendered a leadoff single, the Mustangs' first hit in 4 innings, that was played into a double by left-fielder Scotland Church. After a groundout, Rasmussen walked three consecutive batters, loading the bases and then forcing in a run. Cal Poly made it a 3-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to right.
This time, the Beavers were able to answer, getting a run back thanks to a KJ Harrison leadoff single, Gabe Clark walk, and an RBI hit from pinch-hitter Michael Howard. Mustang starter, and winning pitcher, Kyle Smith, exited after allowing the first two batters to reach base, and he closed his line at 6 hits over his 5 innings, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, and 1 run.
Oregon State pulled to within a run in the next inning, which started with a Christian Donahue walk. Leadoff man Jeff Hendrix followed that with "possibly the most productive swinging strikeout ever", according to Mike Parker. Donahue was stealing on the 3-2 pitch Hendrix swung through, and he was alertly advanced to third when the pitch skipped off the catcher's glove. Pinch-hitter Billy King couldn't get the job done with a pop-out to shortstop, but KJ Harrison managed to score the run by beating out a soft groundball up the middle for an RBI infield single.
That was as close as they would get, however, as Oregon State couldn't hold Cal Poly at bay in the 8th or 9th innings. Rasmussen got one out in the 8th before allowing a line drive double in the gap that ended his day. Luke Heimlich was the next pitcher, and his first batter was Zack Zehner. Zehner greeted Heimlich with a monster 2-run home run down the left field line, his 2nd of the weekend.
Sam Tweedt gave up 2 more in the 9th on a pair of walks and singles, and Oregon State didn't even threaten against Cal Poly closer Danny Zandona, who entered with 1 out of the 7th and gave up 2 singles but nothing more, earning a save for his efforts.
Rasmussen went 7.1 innings, gave up 4 runs on 6 hits, walked 4 and struck out 2, and picked up his first loss of his career, moving to 3-1 on the season.
Oregon State looks to avoid what would be a shocking sweep on Sunday at 1:05 PM.