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Oregon State Pulls Out 8-7 Win Over Minnesota

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Freshmen make their mark at the plate.

Nick Madrigal is happy to be a Beaver, and the Beavers are happy he is one.
Nick Madrigal is happy to be a Beaver, and the Beavers are happy he is one.

It was another day of less than spectacular pitching in Surprise, AZ, but this time it was Oregon State that made the plays late, and pulled out an 8-7 win over Minnesota.

And the benefits of Coach Pat Casey's recruiting are emerging, as a pair of freshmen delivered at the plate to lead the Beavers.

Oregon State fans might want to get used to Nick Madrigal's smiling face, because if today is any indication, he's going to have a lot to smile about before he's done, and Beaver fans will be smiling some too.

Today, Madrigal had a 2 RBI double to tie the game, and the RBI hit that produced what turned out to be the winning run in the 8th.

And until Casey and pitching coach Nate Yeski can figure out the pitching situation, its going to look like the Beavers will need all the offense they can muster for what looks like a lot of shootouts to come.

Today, it was also Oregon State that struck first, after finding themselves in an early hole in each of their first two games. The 5th ranked Beavers got on the board in the second inning when another of the freshmen, Cadyn Grenier tripled to score Jack Anderson. Grenier had 3 walks on opening day, and got his first hits yesterday, and 2 more today, including what at that point was the biggest hit so far this season.

Shortly thereafter, Caleb Hamilton eclipsed that though, with a 2 run homer to left to open a 3-0 lead.

But shortly after that, Minnesota had a monster inning, touching up Oregon State starter Travis Eckert for 5 runs in the top of the 3rd, with Toby Hanson's 3 run homer to right doing most of the damage.

The Gophers got another run an inning later, on an RBI triple of their own by Terrin Vavra for a 6-3 lead, but the Beavers immediately answered. Madrigal's 2 RBI double that pushed both Logan Ice and Trevor Morrison across capped the rally.

Eckert settled down, and got through the 6th without any further damage, but when John Pomeroy took over, he only needed to see 4 Minnesota batters in order to load the bases, and be lifted for yet another of the Oregon State freshmen, Bryce Fehmel.

Minnesota immediately took the lead with a sacrifice fly, but overall, Fehmel did a good job, and didn't allow any more scoring. A double play in the 8th did help with that.

Oregon State resorted to Casey ball small ball in the bottom of the 7th to tie the game, with Morrision bunting his way on, and Madrigal bunting him on to second. Minnesota reliever Jordan Jess, who had taken over in the 5th, hit KJ Harrison with a pitch, and then walked pinch hitter Joe Gillette to load the bases.

Kyle Nobach delivered the game tieing sacrifice fly, and it was 7-7 going to the 8th, and in the bottom of that at bat, Grenier led off with a single, and moved up on Ice's bunt, setting the table for Madrigal's RBI single to take the lead.

The excitement was far from over for the crowd of well over 3 thousand Gopher and Beaver fans though.

Max Engelbrekt came in to do his save thing, but loaded the bases with Gophers, with an error making matters more tense than would otherwise have been, before closing out his second save of the season.

Fehmel got his first win of his career, and Brian Glowicki, who took over after Jess got Casey-balled, got the loss.

Oregon State improved to 2-1 for the season, and will conclude their weekend against Pac-12 foe Utah (1-2) tomorrow morning. The Utes dropped a 9-3 decision to Minnesota in today's first game.

Andy_Woodridge@yahoo.com