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Beavers Take Ugly 9-6 Win Over Trojans

It wasn't the cleanest of games, but the Beavers did what they needed to do, thanks to 4 steadying shutout innings of relief from Luke Heimlich.

Luke Heimlich went 4 scoreless innings in relief, earning his 2nd win of the season.
Luke Heimlich went 4 scoreless innings in relief, earning his 2nd win of the season.
Andy Wooldridge

Oregon State picked up a big 9-6 win over USC in a game that just screamed "Sunday". They combined for 15 walks, 3 errors, a pair of hit by pitches and wild pitches, a passed ball, and some baserunning miscues for good measure. It all combined to be a huge win that gave Oregon State a series win over a team ranked as high as #7 in the polls.

The Beavers nearly scored in the bottom of the first, but KJ Harrison couldn't stay in a rundown between first and second long enough to let Jeff Hendrix score from third. The Trojans had gone down 1-2-3 to start the game, making this was the first sign things might be a little wonky.

Trever Morrison made an error to start the 2nd, and a line drive to deep left field looked like it would make the Beavers pay, but Michael Howard made an incredible diving catch, and Beavers starter Travis Eckert was able to work around the Morrison error.

Things started to get really sloppy in the bottom of the 2nd, when a bases loaded walk (the third free pass of the inning) to Dane Lund gave the Beavers the game's first run. They tacked on another on a Jeff Hendrix sacrifice fly, but the Trojans responded with 4 in the top of the 3rd to take the lead, and the momentum. USC also scored its first run on a bases-loaded walk, and added 3 more with some small ball and productive outs, giving them a 4-2 lead.

Luke Heimlich came on in relief with the bases loaded and one out in that 4-run 3rd, and he let one of his inherited runners score but no more. Eckert's up-and-down season continues with a 3.1 inning, 4 run, 2 walk outing. Fortunately for the Beavers, he took a no-decision, and Heimlich earned a win with 4 innings of scoreless, 2 hit innings.

USC was happy to cough the lead right back up in the bottom of the 4th, giving up a single and two walks to load the bases with one out. Christian Donahue drew the third run-scoring walk of the game to pull the Beavers within 1, and Morrison gave the Beavers a 5-4 lead with a bloop single into left field. Donahue would later score on a passed ball, his second of three runs scored in the game. Donahue was the most productive hitter for the Beavs, going 3-3 with a walk, scoring 3 runs and driving in 2 more.

Oregon State scored a run each in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings, (no, none of them were scored on walks), to give them a 4-run cushion headed to the 9th. Sam Tweedt, who escaped a bases loaded jam in the 8th, allowed the first three Trojans to reach base in the 9th, and Mitch Hickey was called upon to protect the now 3-run lead. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Hickey got a strikeout on a pitch in the dirt that should've been a double play when the runner on first was caught in no-man's land trying to advance to second. But, as I'm sure you could see coming, Lund handcuffed Harrison with a shovel pass, and the Beavers had to settle for just the strikeout.

Hickey would get a pair of groundouts to end the game and clinch his 6th save of the season.

8 of the Beaver starters reached based safely, and the team had 11 hits to go along with the 9 walks Trojan pitchers dealt them. Morrison and Hendrix had a pair of hits apiece, while the former added 2 RBIs and the latter had one of his own.

This was the second consecutive important series win for the Beavers (27-13, 10-8), who are trying to solidify their status as an NCAA tournament team. Next weekend they face the Huskies (23-17, 8-12), who sit two places below the Beavers in the conference standings.