19th ranked Oregon St. pounded an uncompetitive Portland team into oblivion Wednesday night at Volcanoes' Stadium in Keizer. The Beavers used a team record tieing seven home runs to hammer out a 20-0 win to complete a season sweep of the 3 game series against the Pilots, having already taken 14-2 and 12-3 wins in Portland and Corvallis earlier this year.
Both Jeff Hendrix and KJ Harrison homered twice, and Hendrix had 3 extra base hits in his 4 of 5, 3 RBI, 3 run night.
The 7 home runs tied the OSU record set in 2000, not coincidentally also against Portland.
Oregon St. got all the runs they would need on Kyle Nobach's 2 run homer in the 2nd, and quickly added 5 more in the 3rd, the welcome result of abandoning their usually ineffective small ball approach in favor of a slew of solid singles.
Hendrix nearly reached I-5 beyond right field with his 2 run homer in the 4th inning, and continued to demonstrate tremendous power with a leadoff homer beyond the 405 foot sign in center field in the 6th inning. It was Hendrix's first ever 2 home run game.
KJ Harrison followed with another solo shot, and Christian Donahue made the 6th another 5 run inning with a bases loaded 3 RBI double that pushed the score to 14-0.
Meanwhile, freshman Sam Tweedt was mowing down the Pilots, and got the win to improve to 8-1 for the year.
Jordan Wilcox, who took over in the 2nd inning, and gave up the first 7 runs, took the loss for Portland, and dropped to 1-5 for the year.
Oregon St. continued to pour it on Portland in the 7th, as Caleb Hamilton lead off with a single, Hendrix doubled for his 3rd extra base hit of the evening, and Harrison homered again.
Logan Ice got in on the home run derby, with a 2 run shot of his own later in the 7th that made it 19-0.
Tweedt handed the ball over to Mak Fox, who handed it to Keven Flemer an inning later.
Just for good measure, Joe Gillette jacked the record tieing 7th home run to lead off the top of the 9th, making it 20-0, and then Zach Reser brought the blowout shutout home. It was the 3rd shutout thrown by the Beaver staff in a week.
It might have been even more lopsided had Oregon St. not ran themselves into a couple of unforced outs in scoring position.
The game was a classic example of why its non-sensical that a 10 run rule after 7 innings used in many conferences isn't in use in the west, as all that was accomplished was to further embarass an overmatched victim.
Oregon St. improved to 33-14-1 on the season, while Portland fell below .200, to 10-41 for the season.
The win extended the Beavers winning streak against the Pilots, which was already a school record, to 24 games, and further fueled the grumbling about continuing to schedule a hapless opponent in a game that hurts the RPI even when winning away from home by a blowout margin.
Oregon St. has a need to be in the Salem market, and the best baseball stadium in the state annually, and the crowd of 2,119 that turned out for a rescheduled game that was rained out a month ago illustrated that playing in Volcanoes' stadium will draw, and is important in making both Oregon St. baseball and athletics generally a regional product instead of a home town one.
But serious consideration should be given to an annual neutral site series with Gonzaga, with games in Pasco and Keizer, in place of the Portland series, at least until the Pilots can demonstrate that they can consistently field a competitive team.
The exhibition also underscored what happens when Oregon St. plays aggressively. Granted, Portland pitching is not comparable to what is regularly encountered in the Pac-12, but the Beaver batters, or more likely Beaver coaching's game calling, taking numerous 1st and 3rd called strikes, and conceding numerous outs on sacrifices, often takes an intimidated approach to their offense, but clearly has he power to put balls in play when they swing away.
Oregon St. hits the road tomorrow morning, headed to Stanford to start a critical series at Sunken Diamond, where the Beavers need at a minimum a series win, and preferably a sweep, of the last place Cardinal in their last road games of the regular season.
Oregon St. starts the weekend in 5th place in the Pac-12, but only 1/2 game behind the 3 way tie for second between Arizona St., USC, and California, who will visit Corvallis in a week for the last series of the season.
Portland will wrap up their regular season this weekend, hosting Pacific.