The Beavers' Drew Rasmussen pitched well Saturday, but made some avoidable mistakes that turned out to be costly. He walked 4 Wildcats batters, all with two outs, three of which extended the inning and led to the nation's leader in batting average coming up to bat with runners in scoring position. He made the Beavers pay once, which turned out to be enough in a game when the Beavers couldn't find a timely hit.
Rasmussen cruised through the Wildcats order to start the game, retiring all 9 batters in order. Arizona starter Nathan Bannister, meanwhile, labored, but did not give in. Bannister, who had walked just 8 batters in 46 innings entering Saturday, dished out a pair of 4-pitch walks in the 3rd, and the Beavers loaded the bases with two outs, but couldn't take advantage. The next inning, KJ Harrison and Jeff Hendrix both laced two-out singles into right field, but again Oregon State couldn't cash in.
The scoreless tie was broken in the 4th when Logan Ice capped off a 12-pitch at bat by jumping on a fastball over the heart of the plate and mashing it into the right field seats for his first career home run. Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived. Rasmussen, who had already shown signs of fighting his command, falling behind batters early in the game, had it unravel even more in his 5th inning of work.
Rasmussen recorded two quick outs before issuing a walk, his 2nd two-out walk in as many innings. A single followed by another walk loaded the bases for the nation's leading hitter, Scott Kingery. Kingery, batting over .450 on the year, was 0-2 on the day and 1-6 on the series, but would not be held down for too long, and gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead with a single into left field. A caught stealing would prevent further damage.
The Beavers couldn't do much damage of their own against Bannister, scoring only on Ice's homer. Bannister, making his first start of his career, worked into the 7th inning despite giving up 8 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 5 Beavers in his 6.1 innings of work, and exited after giving up a one-out single to Christian Donahue. Tyger Talley took over and made sure Donahue didn't go anywhere.
The Wildcats added some insurance in the top of the 9th courtesy a Bobby Dalbec leadoff home run, his conference-leading 11th of the season. Rasmussen had been removed after 7 rather strong innings of work, in which he gave up just 2 runs on 3 hits and struck out 7. However, calling those 4 walks a blemish would be an understatement. John Pomeroy had a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th, but was removed after the home run and a one-out single in the 9th. Sam Tweedt recorded the final two outs.
Talley plunked Trever Morrison with one-out in the 9th, but Christian Donahue grounded into a 4-6-3 inning-ending, game-ending double play.
Three Beavers had multi-hit games, and Jeff Hendrix reached base 3 times. But the Beavers were 3-14 with runners on base, and 0-4 with runners in scoring position. The Wildcats were 2-7 and 1-3, respectively.
On Sunday, the Beavers will try to avoid losing their fourth consecutive series when they send Travis Eckert to the mound for a bounce-back performance after a disastrous start against the Ducks.