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OSU defeats Central Arkansas 7 to 1

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#7 Oregon State (21-7, 5-4) takes care of business and sweeps Central Arkansas (13-16).

Luke Heimlich pitched a four hit seven inning shut out as Beavers sweep Central Arkansas
Luke Heimlich pitched a four hit seven inning shut out as Beavers sweep Central Arkansas

Behind LHP Luke Heimlich (3-0, 3.18) Oregon State looked to close out their non-conference series against Central Arkansas with the Bears starting RHP Riley Echols (1-0, 4.98).

Heimlich's first inning started out a bit rough with Luke throwing three straight balls, but he was to come back and strike out the lead off Bears' hitter.  After a hard working at bat the second Central Arkansas hitter, Chris Townsend was able to get the Bears their first base runner with a 3 and 2 walk, which then was followed by a Brandon Montalvo single to put the Bears in business with only one out.  Heimlich and the OSU defense made quick work to get out of the inning with the clean up hitter swinging on a first pitch to ground out into a double play.

Oregon State was not able to take advantage of more solid hitting by Christian Donahue who got on base with a double and as such the first inning ended in a 0 - 0 tie.

Things quieted down in the second inning, which saw both teams with a base runner here and and runner there, but neither team could take advantage.

Of the starters though Central Arkansas' Riley Echols' command was lacking.  It took a bit of time but the Beavers were able to capitalize on red hot hitting Christian Donahue whose lead off double in the bottom of the third got OSU's offense going.  Nick Madrigal followed the Donahue double with walk, and both runners advanced on a double steal on the Harrison strike out.   It looked bleak though as Logan Ice was not able to drive his right field fly out deep enough to score Donahue from third.  This was followed by what looked like a routine ground out, but the Central Arkansas shortstop threw the ball away allowing Jack Anderson to reach first and for two OSU runs to come, all of which put the Beavers up 2 to 0.

The middle innings settled in with both pitchers finding their rhythms and defenses overall playing well (except for a throwing error on Caleb Hamilton in third in the top of the sixth, but the error caused no damage).

A bottom of the sixth lead off Logan Ice walk had Central Arkansas going to their bullpen and the Bears brought in RHP Derek Beier (3-0, 1.59).  The reliever's initial batter did not go well as Jack Anderson's sacrifice bunt led to a Bears' error to move Ice to third and Anderson reaching first again on an error.  Billy King had a great at bat fouling off pitch after pitch to earn a walk to load the bases with no outs.  Then a sharply hit fielder's choice by Steven Kwan put the Beavs up 3 to 0, and a Caleb Hamilton hard earned walk again loaded the bases.

As the Beavers got to the top of their lineup in the sixth, Central Arkansas went to RHP Tyler Gray (2-1, 3.86) to keep the game within a reasonable striking distance.    Oregon State on the other hand was looking to break things open, which the Beavs were not able to completely to do but a Trever Morrison RBI fielder's choice did give OSU a fairly comfortable 4 to 0 lead going into the final stretch of the game.

Those four runs were more than enough as Luke Heimlich continued to pitch strong late in the game, but a Logan Ice RBI single gave the Beavs another run in the bottom of the seventh.  RHP Connor McClain (0-0, 15.88) came into the game and Oregon State was able to take advantage of getting deep into the Bears' bullpen and finally broke the game open with back-to-back singles by Jack Anderson and Billy King pushing the OSU lead up to 6 to 0.  Then another Central Arkansas error on a Steven Kwan grounder gave the Beavs their final run of the game and a 7 to 0 lead going into the final two innings.

Both teams went to new pitchers as Central Arkansas went to RHP Andrew Kemmerer (0-0, 18.00),  and the Beavs brought in RHP Tommy Paul (1-0, 5.40) to relieve Heimlich who pitched a wonderful 7.2 innings, in his career longest outing.  Luke struck out seven, walked just one, and gave up only four hits (all singles) and no runs.

After a solid relief in the eighth inning Paul was not able to close the deal in the ninth and OSU went to RHP Scotland Church (0-0, 4.15) to get the last three Central Arkansas outs.  A throwing error on Trever Morrison did take the Beavs out of the shut out, but it did end in a fairly easy 7 to 1 win.

The final numbers had Oregon State scoring 7 runs on 8 hits, and the Beavs had two errors.  Christian Donahue led the way going 3 for 5, with two doubles.  Central Arkansas scored once, had 4 hits, and 3 errors.

The Beavers next go up against the Portland Pilots (13-18) at Goss Stadium this Tuesday at 5:35pm, then OSU will travel to Pullman to take on the Washington State Cougars (10-18, 3-8).  The Pullman trip will also begin a long eight game road stretch for Oregon State, which includes a couple out of conference match ups against Oregon (13-12, 3-5) in Eugene and a conference series against Utah (10-17, 7-4) in Salt Lake.

Go Beavs!