It was a rainy midweek match up between the #3 Oregon State Beavers (15-2, 3-0) and University of Portland Pilots (11-8-0, 1-2-0). Fortunately, a rainy day gave way to a mostly dry, albeit cold (temperatures in the 40s) evening. The Beavers were coming off an impressive sweep of the Arizona State Sun Devils in their Pac-12 opening series of the season, and Portland was coming off a lost series to Loyola Marymount.
The game, as is becoming the norm for State of Oregon baseball in March, started after a short rain delay with RHP Bryce Fehmel (4-0, 0.79) getting his first start for Oregon State on the mound, and Fehmel and the Beavs went up against LHP Cole Doherty (1-1, 3.27).
The seventh best hitting team in the country got off to a fast start with Christian Donahue smacking a lead off single into right field, followed by a Nick Madrigal single up the middle. But KJ Harrison helped out the Pilots by hitting into a double play. Jack Anderson came up after Harrison and did the first damage for Oregon State with stand up RBI double. A Joe Gillette walk and with runners getting themselves into scoring position perfectly set up for a Kyle Nobach single up the middle that gave OSU a 3 to 0 early lead.
Oregon State's defensive first inning had Fehmel finding his rhythm with Michael Gretler behind the plate (Logan Ice getting a break from his catching duties to rest up for the big upcoming series against Cal), and OSU's starter struck out the first two Portland batters. The red hot hitting Caleb Whalen though was able to single to left field with two outs, and a walk of the four hitter Cooper Hummel made things challenging for Fehmel. But an inning ending strikeout got the Beavs out of trouble.
The second inning started out a bit quieter for the Beavs, but Christian Donahue got on base with a two-out single that started things off again and scored off a KJ Harrison RBI double. Then Jack Anderson loaded up the bases by getting hit by a pitch, which led to a two run error on an off the end of the bat hit by Joe Gillette to double up the score 6 to 0 for OSU.
The game settled in more for Portland as the Pilots went to RHP Cameron Richman (0-0. 0.00) who did his job finally getting the Beavs 1-2-3 in the third. On the other side Bryce Fehmel found a bit of trouble, but who up to this point was able to get out of scoring situations until a wild pitch/passed ball on a third strike scored the Pilots' first run of the game.
Oregon State was able to get at Richman in the fourth as a Jack Anderson two-out double scored Nick Madrigal, who had his own double, and then Anderson scored on a solid infield single by Kyle Nobach giving the Beavers an 8 to 1 lead.
LHP Luke Heimlich (3-0, 2.37) came in as relief, as Fehmel exited the game after 68 pitches giving up one run on three hits, struck out five, and walked two. Portland countered with RHP Marty Luckenbach (3-0, 2.70) in the top half of the fifth inning, but Luckenbach also could not keep the Beavs off the board as Michael Gretler's lead off single paid off when Christian Donahue's triple scored Gretler. Donahue then scored the 10th run of the game on a smartly placed Nick Madrigal safety squeeze bunt.
Portland got a couple more runs on a Caleb Whalen home run smash over the left field fence. Heimlich though did not seemed fazed as he struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Cadyn Grenier then got in on the RBI act with a two run double shot to left field in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth Heimlich got himself into trouble loading up the bases, which led to a two run single allowing Portland to draw to within 12 to 5. This led to a pitching change bringing in hard throwing RHP John Pomeroy (0-0, 9.00), and another Pilots' run came in on a wild pitch. Pomeroy though got out of the inning with some Pilots charity as the wild pitch sent the runner to, and sliding past, third base for the third out of the inning.
Portland in the top of the seventh went to RHP Jake Hawken (0-0, 4.76). The pitching change though did not help overall as the game continued to see the runs happen, this time the damage was done with Nick Madrigal scoring on a throwing error on a KJ Harrison fielder's choice.
In grand midweek game fashion the pitching changes were not done, as Portland went to RHP Alex Fisher (0-0, 2.25), who promptly gave up a lead off single to Trever Morrison but then settled down nicely striking out the next three Beavs hitters and the side. Then RHP Jackson Lockwood (0-0, 8.44) came in the top of the ninth to close out the game for the Pilots.
The bottom of the seventh saw the Oregon State battery change up as RHP Scotland Church (0-0, 7.94) came in along with Logan Ice coming in behind the plate. The change worked overall as Church was able to retire 9 of 12 hitters he faced and went the final distance to finish the game (though Logan's one at bat did see his only second strikeout of the season).
Fehmel got his 5th win of the season, and Church his first save. Doherty took the loss.
Oregon State finished the game scoring 13 runs on 14 hits, and had 1 error. The Pilots scored 6 runs on 8 hits, and had 2 errors.
It was the 23rd win in a row for the Beavers over the Pilots, and the 12th in a row in Portland.
Christian Donahue had another solid game at the plate leading off for the Beavers, going 3 for 6 including a triple; Donahue scored three runs and drove in one RBI. Kyle Nobach had three RBIs on 2 hits, and Jack Anderson had an excellent game hitting two doubles and had two RBIs.
The Beavs will hit the diamond again for a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Easter weekend series against the #17 Cal Bears (11-6, 1-2). First pitch for the opening game of the series in Berkeley is scheduled for 7:00pm Thursday evening.