There was little action in the early going. USF starter James Kannenberg was excellent early, he was not throwing much of a swing and miss variety but he was throwing strikes consistently. Beaver hitters were flummoxed and consistently made poor contact. There were some exceptions but that was the main story as even when OSU was in position to bring in runs they were unable to get the ball out of the infield.
Oregon State starter Travis Eckert did his best to fight it however, throwing pretty well on the day but he had a major slip-up in the top of the third inning. He allowed a leadoff single which set the table for the Dons to try and run some small ball. They bunted up the first base line which led to a tight situation with Logan Ice and Eckert going for the ball. Eckert got it but lobbed it well over the head of KJ Harrison at 1st base which advanced the runner to third. Another bunt got the run home for USF and the Beavs were looking at an early hole.
Normally that one run would not be a huge deficit for the 2016 Beavers, with the pace their offense has been going at. Kannenberg befuddled the Beaver hitters though and kept getting out of tight situations. A groundout got him out of B3 with runners on the corners. Kyle Nobach got in scoring position in the 5th but two consecutive groundouts ended that threat. The 6th saw OSU load the bases only to have a comebacker to the pitcher result in a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
The 7th inning was the final real meaningful chance for OSU. Jack Anderson came on as a pinch hitter and reached on an error. Nobach looked to bunt him over but he did poorly and Anderson was thrown out at 2nd. Donahue followed that with a single which would have scored a run if the earlier bunt had been executed. The next two Beavers could not bring him home either and OSU remained scoreless.
Eckert had been dealing while the offense could not close things out though. His changeup was fantastic, consistently fooling people and being used early in the count which seemed to put the Dons on the back foot. He would leave the game in the top of the 8th after the leadoff runner was moved over to 2nd with a sac bunt. Max Engelbrekt came on and struggled, hitting a batter with his first pitch. It snowballed from there as three of the next four batters reached safely to push the lead out to 5-0, which would turn out to be the final score. That was the nail in the coffin, especially with how the Beaver bats were performing.
OSU's inability to hit in the clutch today defined the game as shown by their 1-9 batting numbers with RISP, and stranding 10 of the 11 base runners they had all afternoon. They actually outhit USF 7-6 but weren't able to turn any of it into runs. Not a good showing from the Beaver offense, but this is the first time they've been shut out all year. The brightest spot was how well Eckert pitched today. He took the loss but he retired 15 straight at one point and was in control outside of his third inning miscues.
Arizona State comes to town next week for the beginning of Pac-12 play, so the offense will have a full week to refocus and prepare for conference play.