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Beavers Falter Again, Lose Shootout with Oregon 10-9

The Beavers put the cherry on top of one of their most excruciating weekends in recent history by blowing a 6-run lead before a defensive miscue led to the Ducks scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 8th.

Head coach Pat Casey is probably not the happiest person right now.
Head coach Pat Casey is probably not the happiest person right now.

Oregon State lost the rubber match of the Civil War 10-9 in the 2nd painful loss of the weekend. The Beavers led 9-3 in the 3rd inning, but quickly gave up that lead, and eventually the Ducks sneaked the winning run across and clinched the series.

Both starting pitchers struggled mightily, exiting the game before recording an out in the 3rd inning. The Duck defense didn't offer much help to their starter Conor Harber, but he didn't help himself much either, giving up 7 runs (5 earned) on 6 hits. Beaver starter Travis Eckert, meanwhile, had a similarly bad day, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits over his 2+ innings of work.

Oregon State scored each of its 9 runs in consecutive innings, scoring 3 in the 2nd and 6 in the 3rd. Kyle Nobach and Logan Ice both had run-scoring hits in the 2nd, and Caleb Hamilton added another with a safety squeeze. The Ducks, however, tied it up in the bottom of the frame thanks to 3 singles and a double.

Christian Donahue led off the 3rd with a triple and scored on Jeff Hendrix's 2-run double, which also plated KJ Harrison, who reached on a hit by pitch. Duck centerfielder flat-out dropped Billy King's routine flyball, and the error was the end of Harber's outing. Josh Graham replaced him and was less-than effective at first, giving up consecutive singles to Nobach and Elliott Cary, making it 7-3 Beavers. Both Nobach and Cary would come around to score on wild pitches, the second of which enabled Hamilton to reach despite striking out on it. Donahue had a chance to extend the lead even further, but grounded into what turned out to be a quite consequential inning-ending double play with runners on the corners.

The Ducks wasted no time in chipping away at the lead, going single-double-home run to lead off the 3rd inning. Eckert was replaced by Trent Shelton after giving up the double, who was replaced by Zack Reser after giving up the homer. Reser escaped the 3rd without further damage, but wasn't nearly so fortunate in the 4th, when the Ducks scored 3 more to tie the game at 9. Reser got a quick out in that 4th before giving up a single, walk, and 3-run game-tying home run.

Both teams' bats went cold in the middle innings, as Josh Graham, the winning pitcher, steadied himself and didn't allow a run after the 3rd, and the Beavers pieced together 3 scoreless innings using Kevin Flemer in the 5th and 6th and Luke Heimlich in the 7th.

However, Heimlich's 2nd inning of work proved to be costly. His control issues had carried over from Friday, and he walked 2 (albeit 1 intentionally) Duck batters in the 7th, and added another with one-out in the 8th. Heimlich recovered and induced a groundball to second base, but it went right under the glove of Christian Donahue, and instead of an inning-ending double play, the Ducks had runners on first and second with one out. Phil Craig-St. Louis picked up his 3rd hit and 4th RBI of the day with a single into right field to give the Ducks a 10-9 lead.

Mitch Hickey was able to avoid further damage, but plenty had already been done. Duck closer Garrett Cleavinger shut the door in the 9th, and the Ducks defended their home turf with a Civil War series victory.

The Beavers once again had their chances in this one. Donahue failed to score a runner from 3rd with 1 out, though it's hard to be dissatisfied with a 6-run inning. Elliott Cary hit a one-out single in the 5th and moved to 2nd on a wild pitch with 2 outs, but Hamilton struck out to end the threat. Trevor Morrison led off the 6th by lifting a routine flyball into right-center field. But, some miscommunication led to the flyball being dropped, and ruled a double. But the middle of the order couldn't even advance him to 3rd. Hendrix hit a one-out single in the 9th, his 3rd hit of the game, but again the Beavers couldn't do anything with it.

This weekend was nothing short of nightmarish for the Beavers, who likely should have swept this series, and instead come away with a series loss. They look to get their feet back under them Tuesday against Portland before their next conference series, a home matchup with Arizona.