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OSU defeats Utah 3 to 0 in baseball series opener

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In a key take care of business opening game in an important need to take care of business Pac-12 series, the Oregon State (30-14, 12-9) baseball team behind strong defensive play and an economical performance by Andrew Moore defeat the scrappy hitting Utah Utes (16-27, 7-14) 3 to 0.

Jeff Hendrix extended his hitting streak to 12 games and OSU's defense holds off Utah for a 3 to 0 series opener win
Jeff Hendrix extended his hitting streak to 12 games and OSU's defense holds off Utah for a 3 to 0 series opener win
OSU Athletic Dept.

The first inning was a bit of a harbinger for RHP Andrew Moore as he fought off an aggressive Utah team.  Moore in the opening inning only threw one ball, but he also had to rely on his defense to help him out.   Utah, though, also was not able to take advantage of a two out single by Dallas Carroll, which also bode well for the OSU side of things as the game progressed.

For the Beavs it took a bit of time to really break things open, even if they were in control for most of the game.  This was also illustrated in the first inning as Elliott Cary's one out single went for not as he was called for interface on a double-play attempt that then ended the inning even with Jeff Hendrix being able to initially beat out the throw to first.

The third and second innings saw a bit of a back-and-forth as both teams go fairly quickly on offense, with only a Utes single in the 3rd to break things up a bit.   The fourth inning though became the key one for the Beavers as Moore received more help from his defense, in this case especially Kyle Nobach in left field making some crucial on the warning track grabs.  On offense Christian Donahue started the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off single, which was then followed up by a stolen base to second.   Cary then recorded the game's strangest play by reaching first on an error that saw Cary, and everyone on the Utah side think he hit a foul ball only to be called fair by the home plate umpire.  Cary's hesitation was enough to keep the Utes' first baseman off the bag, and in turn also was able to move Donahue to third base.  This was all then followed by what looked to be an unfavorable OSU turn of events as Hendrix went down on a rare strikeout and KJ Harrison lined out on a sharpy hit ball that was right at the Utah fielder.   Billy King was able to swing the fortunes back to the OSU side of things and with his ripped into the left field corner double was able to score the first two OSU runs of the game.

Andrew Moore's fifth inning though became an adventure as the Utes were able to load the bases with only one out, but again Moore's defense helped his cause as Michael Gretler was able to turn a 5-3 double play to end the top of the inning.  The Beavs' offense then was able to take advantage of a Caleb Hamilton one out walk followed by a Gretler sac bunt, which allowed Cary to hit home Hamilton on a two out single that gave Moore a comfortable 3 to 0 lead going into the sixth inning.

The game then winded down fairly quietly for Utah as Moore's very economical pitching performance kept things in check nicely.   Oregon State was not able to score another run, but some highlights included a Nobach two out double in the sixth and Jeff Hendrix extending his hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the eighth inning.  As was indicative from the very first inning Moore was able to then close out the game and pitch a complete game shut-out on 99 total pitches (76 of which were strikes).  And was the case for much of the game, the ninth inning was rounded out by the defense, in this case Kyle Nobach and Jeff Hendrix taking care of business in the outfield for the last three outs of the game.

Andrew Moore's performance advanced him to a 5 and 2 record, and he was able to strike out 4, allowed no runs on six hits, and had no walks.   On the other side Utah's starter Bret Helton dropped to 2 and 7, struck out 2, and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits.   The Utes were very aggressive in their approach at the plate, but the Oregon State defense was sharp and the Beavs' offense was able to take just enough advantage of their at bats to give Moore more than enough to work with to give OSU an important winding down of the season conference win.

Oregon State advanced their overall record to 31 to 14 and 13 and 9 in conference, and Utah dropped to 16 and 28 and 7 and 15.   The two teams will go at it again Saturday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 1:35pm.