Oregon State was coming into the game off two completely zombie like performances against the Cal Golden Bears; OSU's hitting, beyond a couple home runs had been nonexistent with the pitching and defense not far behind in terms of being in sleepwalking mode through the first two games. As such the Beavs were looking to being much more awake in this extremely important Pac-12 series ending game. To this end OSU hoped starting pitcher RHP Travis Eckert (2-1, 3.12) would be a spark as the Beavers went up against Cal's RHP Jeff Bain (1-1, 1.84).
It looked to be more of the same offensively as the Beavs with a bit of a mixed up batting order saw Nick Madrigal strike out to open the game, but Christian Donahue got on base next with a single, which allowed for a KJ Harrison two RBI home run that put Oregon State up early 2 to 0 in the first inning.
Oregon State was not done in the first though, and a Logan Ice base on balls followed by back-to-back singles by Trever Morrison and Jack Anderson loaded the bases with only one out. This led the Bears to go to a very early pitching change with LHP Matt Ladrech (1-1, 6.43) replacing starter Bain. Kyle Nobach was able to sacrifice fly to right field to score the Beavers' third run of the inning.
Defensively the Beavs looked also to be more of the same as Morrison started out the bottom of the first with a throwing error, but a smart play by Logan Ice backing up the play still resulted in an out for Oregon State. Travis Eckert though gave up a single to the next batter, but Eckert got the next two outs that included picking off the runner at first. All of which translated in a much better start for the #3 team in the country and a 3 to 0 lead going into the second inning.
But after a quick one-two-three top of the second inning, Cal came back in the second to score 4 runs. It was a tough inning with a strikeout wild pitch allowing the lead off batter on base, followed by a single, then an error on KJ Harrison at 1st loaded up the bases with no outs. The Bears took full advantage of the situation and a Nick Halamandaris two RBI single that cut the Oregon State lead to 3 to 2, and made it a game again. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners over to scoring position, which Cal played to perfection as the next batter hit both in to put the Bears up 4 to 3.
When the smoke cleared at the end of the second inning, and the Beavers went back to the dugout it all added up to a terrible inning for a team that just had knocked the opposing starting pitcher out of the game in the first inning. The Beavs had to go to LHP Luke Heimlich (4.15, 3-0) and in total gave up four runs, three hits, and had two errors.
The next couple of innings then saw the revenge of the OSU zombies at bat, and the Beavers' hitters just could not get anything sparked against Ladrech, and after that very eventful first inning and even with being able to make contact overall, the Oregon State batters were not patient enough with working counts and went down for a very quick 16 in a row outs. Even a Nobach walk ended up badly in the seventh as pinch hitter Joe Gillette grounded into a double play.
On the other side Heimlich took care of business, overcoming hits here and an error there, to all keep the game within striking distance for Oregon State. Luke went into the bottom of the seventh not giving up any more runs, and was replaced by LHP Max Engelbrekt (0-0, 2.45).
After the first inning though the alarm clock never went off for the Oregon State players, and a Cal RBI triple off of Engelbrekt in the seventh put the nail in the coffin for the Beavers in Berkeley as the OSU bats continued to not find the gaps in the Cal defense. The Bears then went to their closer Erik Martinez (1-0, 0.79, five saves) to take down the last chance for the Beavers in the ninth inning, and in the end Cal was able to get a huge series sweep over Oregon State.
The Beavers will not have much time to regroup as Oregon State will play a short midweek two-game series against the San Diego Aztecs (4-16) Monday and Tuesday in Corvallis. Then Oregon State will be back to conference play Friday afternoon against the Washington Huskies, first pitch scheduled for 3:00pm.