Oregon State used 2 big innings to overcome 4 good ones by Kansas State to get a 7-5 win today in Surprise, AZ, to kick off the Big XII-Pac-12 Challenge. Its a welcome change, as statistically, the team with the single biggest inning wins the majority of the time, but the Beavers have struggled to have the offense to do so in recent seasons.
Today, Kansas State, whom Beaver fans will recall from the 2013 Super Regional in Corvallis that they had to dramatically overcome on their way to Omaha, got to starter Drew Rasmussen early and often, but never for a big inning.
The Wildcats scored once each in the 3rd, 5th, and 6th innings to take a 3-0 lead, while Kansas State starter Corey Fisher was efficiently shutting down the Oregon State offense.
The Beavers wiped that out with a 4 run at bat in the top of the 7th. though. KJ Harrison led off with a single, and Fisher walked Jack Anderson, which ended his day. Billy King would tag Fisher with both of those runs with a 2 RBI single.
Another single by Kyle Noback ended the afternoon for Wildcat reliever Nick Jones, and Jordan Floyd didn't fare a lot better, as Joe Gillette, pinch hitting for Christian Donahue, drove both of them in to put the Beavers up 4-3.
It was a brief lead though, as Kansas State took the lead back in the bottom of the 7th.
It was not instantaneous though, as Rasmussen got the first 2 outs before issuing a walk, prompting Oregon State pitching coach Nate Yeski to pull him after 94 pitches.
Initially, that didn't go well, as Bryce Fehmel immediately issued a walk and then a wild pitch, and that set the table for a 2 RBI double by Steve Serratore, and a 5-4 Kansas State lead.
The Beavers answered in the top of the 8th. It stared with a 1 out K.J. Harrison single, followed by an error by Kansas State shortstop Tyler Wolfe. The Wildcats made another pitching change, but Cadyn Grenier drew a walk to load the bases.
Logan Ice couldn't come through, as the Wildcats were able to convert his grounder to first into a force at the plate, but then pinch hitter Caleb Hamilton came up and came through, with a 3 RBI triple to the wall in right center for what would prove to be the winning runs.
Fehmel got the first 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th, but then issued a walk and a single by Jake Wodtke, and that was the end to his afternoon, with Max Engelbrekt coming on to get the Beavers out of the jam.
Engelbrekt got a double play ball to clean up a single in the bottom of the 9th, and though he then issued a walk, bot the fly ball to close out the win, and snag already his 3rd save of the season in 4 Oregon State wins.
Fehmel benefited from Hamilton's clutch power hitting and Engelbrekt's close to get his 2nd win of the season to go to 2-0 as the setup man.
Jordan Floyd, the 3rd of 4 Kansas State relievers, got the loss for setting the table for the loss, though Gillette's 2 RBI single had more to do with it.
Oregon State improved to 4-1 for the season, and Kansas State dropped to 2-3. The Beavers and Wildcats will go at it again tomorrow at the same time, 1 PM AST, and noon PST.