Even though they had gotten off to a 4-1 start, every game so far for 5th ranked Oregon St. except the blow out of Utah last Monday had been a down to the end affair. And in their only loss, both starter Jake Thompson and reliever Jordan Britton struggled in the 12-9 loss to Utah Valley State.
Today, the Beavers turned it around, at Kansas State's expense, obliterating the Wildcats by 2 touchdowns, taking a 14-0 win. And Thompson and Britton redeemed themselves. Thompson went 6 2/3 innings, striking out 7 while allowing only 5 hits, and Britton finished off the game, allowing only 1 hit, though that hit and a pair of walks did allow the Wildcats to load the bases.
But in what had been typical of the rest of the game, Oregon State frustrated every Kansas State attempt at offense. The Wildcats stranded 11, almost twice the number of hits they had.
About the only head-scratcher of the day for Oregon State was head coach Pat Casey's decision to bench Trevon Morrison to start the game.
Casey came to his senses after 3 innings, and brought Morrison on in the 4th, though he didn't come up to bat until in the 5th, at which time he energized an Oregon State offense that had been tentative up to that point.
The Beavers couldn't capitalize on getting their first 2 batters on in the first, and left the bases loaded, and though they did open a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning, a batter hit by a pitch and a walk, plus a pair of sacrifices had more to do with that than the 2 singles they managed.
After the Beavers had added another run in the 5th on a fielders' choice, Morrison broke the game open with a bases loaded 2 RBI double, and scored himself on Caleb Hamilton's RBI single that opened the advantage to 6-0.
Oregon State really blew the game open in the 7th. After picking up an additional run on a bases loaded error by Kansas State second baseman Jake Wodtke, the Beaves then didn't get another run on a grounder in the infield.
They did get another run on another batter hit by a pitch, but the big hit was a 3 RBI double by Cadyn Grenier.
That made it 11-0, and should have been the end of it, if the NCAA would widely adopt the sensible game ending "10 after 7" rule some circuits use. Instead, the exercise in totally tearing down the Kansas State bullpen, which burned through 5 relievers, continued, and Oregon State added 3 more runs in the 8th, as Kyle Nobach doubled and KJ Harrison hammered an RBI triple to enhance their stats.
It was good to see Thompson, who missed almost all of last season with an injury, turn in a strong effort that squared his record at 1-1, especially in light of the disastrous outing against Utah Valley. And Britton's ability to keep the rest of the bullpen on the bench, and especially save closer Max Engelbrekt from needing to be used, bodes well as well.
And it was good to get doubles from 4 different hitters, and have Harrison go 3 for 6, with 2 extra base hits, 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored.
Kansas State dropped to 2-4 for the season, and starter Parker Rigler, who didn't get through the second inning, took the loss, dropping him to 0-2. The Wildcats will wind up their weekend in Surprise with games against Utah tomorrow and Sunday.
Oregon State will take on Kansas tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM AST (noon PST), and again Sunday morning, at 10 AM AST (9 AM PST and Beaver body time; think back to your Little League tournament days!), before moving on to San Diego next weekend.
And after a half dozen games with no eyes on the team, Connor will drop in on the Beavers tomorrow, and give BTD readers an eyes-on eval.