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Beaver Bats Pummel Pilots

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Jeff Hendrix's 3 run home run sparked an Oregon St. onslaught against Portland today.
Jeff Hendrix's 3 run home run sparked an Oregon St. onslaught against Portland today.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. maintained the offensive firepower they displayed against Grambling St. in the first meeting of the season with Portland. The Beavers belted 18 hits, including 3 home runs and 4 doubles, on their way to a 14-2 win over the Pilots on the bluff in North Portland.

Meanwhile, a youthful portion of the pitching staff, 3 freshmen and a sophomore, combined for a very serviceable outing for a mid-week game for Oregon St.

The Beavers got off to a quick start on the scoring, when a leadoff walk of Jeff Hendrix turned into a 1 run lead on the first of a game high 4 RBIs bu KJ Harrison.

The game got out of hand, and got rid of Pilots starter Cole Doherty, in the second inning though, when Oregon St. batted around for 5 runs, with Hendrix's 3 run homer to right field the centerpiece of the outburst. Joe Gillete added a 2 run homer to left center in the 3rd inning to put Portland down 8-0 before 1/3 of their lineup ever came to the plate.

Kyle Nobach failed to get a hit just once all day, but he did deliver an RBI sacrifice fly in the 4th inning for a 9-0 lead. It could have been much more, but the Beavers left the bases loaded when Caleb Hamilton pop fouled out.

Meanwhile, freshman Sam Tweedt, making his first collegiate start, got off to a great start, setting the Pilots down in order the first 3 innings. Finally, Portland's Kevin Wade got in on the home run derby, with a 2 out solo shot to left field in the 4th inning.

It was the first of 4 consecutive innings in which Tweedt would get touched for a hit, and all of them went for extra bases. In the 5th and 6th innings, one out doubles (one a foot short of clearing the wall over leaping Hendrix in center) were left stranded, but when Kevin Farley led off the 7th with another double, it made Oregon St pitching coach Nate Yeski nervous, if no one else.

Freshman Luke Heimlich fired 3 strikeouts in a row though to calm Yeski down.

By then, the lead had grown to 11-1, after Gabe Clark blasted a bomb estimated by OSU radio play by play announcer Jay Reese and Chris, our on-scene observer for BTD, estimated to have traveled about 100 feet beyond the left field wall at Joe Etzel Stadium.

It was the 16th home run in 12 games already this season for Oregon St. The Beavers only went yard 21 times in all of last year's campaign.

Sometimes outfielder Scotland Church took over in the 8th, making his 3rd pitching appearance of the season, and after getting a double play ball to clean up a leadoff single, gave up a double and a walk.

Freshman Mitch Hickey, who is emerging as the closer for the Beavers would lose 1 of the runners as a result of a rare throwing error on an infield grounder by Trevor Morrison, but then got a strikeout to get out of the 8th.

After getting some more insurance on a 3 RBI double by Harrison, Hickey closed out the game by setting Portland down in order in the 9th, despite the Pilots throwing a pair of pinch hitters at him, picking up the 11th strikeout by the staff (against only 1 walk) on the day.

Noblach went 4 for 5, plus a sacrifice for an RBI, and Hendrix went 3 for 4, plus a pair of walks, scoring 4 times and driving in 3, while Harrison, though hitting [only] .333 for the day, going 2 of 6, drove in 4 runs. Oregon St. collectively only struck out 3 times on the afternoon.

Tweedt got the win to improve to 2-0, while Doherty got the loss, and dropped to 0-2.

Portland did get some notable middle relief from Alex Fisher, who allowed 6 hits, but only the 2 6th inning runs, coming in to end the 4th, and then working through the 8th inning.

Oregon St. improved to 9-3, and took their 22nd in a row from Portland, the longest winning streak in program history against any given opponent. Portland fell to 4-12.

The Beavers return home for a 4 game series against Fresno St., and better pitching than they have seen for a few games, starting Friday night, with another Saturday night double header the centerpiece of the weekend.

The Pilots now trek to Tucson for a 3 game weekend series against Arizona, before revisiting the Beavers at Goss next Tuesday evening.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com