In the second game of the wet and cold home opening series, the #4 Oregon State Beavers' (11-1) baseball team took on the University of San Francisco Dons (2-13). Oregon State's RHP Jake Thompson (1-1, 4.61) got the start against the Dons' freshman LHP Chase Gardner (0-1, 8.25).
The first game of the series saw the Beavers combine some excellent power hitting, including two home runs and three triples (including a rare back-to-back triple effort), with Drew Rasmussen striking out a career-best 12 batters. Oregon State though let things get a little lazy in the later innings from the pitching stand point, which allowed San Francisco to make the final score closer than it really needed to be. This set up an important question of whether the Dons would come into this second game of the series with something to hang their hats on, or would Oregon State be able to reestablish their obvious advantage in the series.
After about an hour opening rain delay the Beavers and Jake Thompson took out the Dons 1-2-3 in the order, which included two early Thompson strikeouts. But Oregon State could not take advantage of a Cadyn Grenier lead-off walk, even though Logan Ice hit the ball on a line but it was a line that went straight to the left fielder's glove, and as such the opening inning ended in a 0 to 0 tie.
The second inning saw Trever Morrison turn a sharp double play with a back-handed grab and crisp throw, which cleaned up his error that let the Dons' lead-off batter on base. Oregon State batters though took a little while to figure out USF's Gardner, and it was not until the third inning when the Beavers were able to take advantage of a Michael Gretler lead-off double down the left field line. Trever Morrison advanced Gretler over to third on an infield bunt single, and then a sharply hit Grenier fielder's choice scored Gretler for a 1 to 0 Oregon State lead.
Then the rains made a return leading to another rain delay in the top of the fourth. It was a short delay, lasting about 10 minutes, as the sun, a rainbow, and players all were able to come back out. And it was a very sunny restart in more ways than one as Logan Ice quickly threw out the stealing base runner on the first pitch after the delay.
The bottom of the fourth saw a lead-off single by KJ Harrison, which Logan Ice quickly followed up by ripping the first pitch he saw for a double, advancing Harrison over to third. Kyle Nobach then loaded up the bases with a walk, which was followed by a Caleb Hamilton sacrifice fly to put the Beavs up 2 to 0.
San Francisco though responded with a lead-off walk then a long single moved the runner to third with no outs. The Dons though stranded the runners after Thompson got the next two batters out, and after Coach Yeskie replaced Thompson with Luke Heimlich and Luke was able to get the easy ground out to end the top of the fifth.
Michael Gretler then worked the count and got on base on a throwing error, which advanced him to second with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Nick Madrigal then looped in a double into shallow right field, which forced the starter Chase Gardner out of the game to be relieved by RHP Joey Carney (0-1, 9.00). Carney ushered himself into the game by walking KJ Harrison to load the bases and brought up to the plate one of the nation's hottest hitters, Logan Ice. It looked to have the story line all in OSU's favor, but the drama went the other way as Ice grounded into a double-play allowing San Francisco to get out of the inning unscathed.
Trever Morrison had a rough game and opened the sixth inning with a throwing error to put the lead San Francisco batter on base, but the runner was picked off to be followed quickly by a ground out play to Cadyn Grenier at third. Heimlich was then able to shake off an infield single to get the next batter to ground out putting the Beavs back up to bat.
A Jack Anderson lead-off walk then translated into a another pitching change with San Francisco going to LHP Frank Waliczek (0-0, 1.00). Waliczek was the right call as he was able to get the Dons out of the inning without any damage done.
At the start of the seventh inning Heimlich found himself in a full count with no outs when the rains made their heavy return, and the game went into another delay. After the short break Heimlich got out of a bit of a jam after he lost the first batter to an out of the break one pitch walk, and then an infield single gave the Dons two base runners with one out. Heimlich was able to get all three outs, two on strike outs and one out by having his glove in the perfect position on a sharply hit line drive.
Oregon State finally opened up the game behind a perfectly played Nick Madrigal hit and run play. San Francisco made a pitching change with RHP Mack Meyer (0-1, 9.82) to match up better with right-handed hitting KJ Harrison. It was a matchup that ended up favoring OSU as Harrison ripped a RBI double down the left field line (the only thing going against Harrison was that the ball was called dead and the second run was taken off the board for KJ as the runner was called back to third). Logan Ice though is able to claim the fourth run of the game with a long sacrifice fly to right field (his 18th RBI of the young season).
Four runs were more than enough as Heimlich pitched well and RHP Mitch Hickey saw his first time on the mound for the 2016 season. Hickey though had to wait for a bit as the game went into its third rain delay. Mitch looked sharp coming out of the delay pitching the inning ending fly out to right field in top of the eighth, and Mitch closed out the game even stronger striking out two and getting the last three San Francisco outs.
The final box score had Oregon State scoring 4 runs on 8 hits, and the Beavers had 2 errors. San Francisco was shut out with 5 hits, and had 1 error. Jake Thompson went 4.2 innings, struck out three, gave up one base on balls, and allowed only three hits. Reliever Luke Heimlich earned his third win of the season, struck out three, walked one, and allowed only two hits in two innings. The Dons' Chase Gardener recorded the loss. KJ Harrison and Nick Madrigal both went 2 for 3, and KJ had one RBI. Logan Ice went 1 for 3 with one RBI.
The Beavers and Dons will go back at it for the third and final game of the series, in most likely more rain and cold, tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm. Oregon State looks to be going with RHP Travis Eckert (1-0, 4.66) and San Francisco will go with RHP James Kannenberg (0-1, 6.00). Additionally it will be the wrap up game of a series that will be serving as a warm up for the big conference opening series against Arizona State at Goss Stadium next week.