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Oregon State Takes Series Opener From USC

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Travis Eckert too close to perfect for Trojans

Travis Eckert flirted with a perfect game in beating USC.
Travis Eckert flirted with a perfect game in beating USC.
Image by Andy Wooldridge

Oregon State got off to a good start in their weekend series at USC, the last regular season road trip for the Beavers, downing the Trojans 3-1.

The story of the game, fire alarm delays and at bats of more than a dozen pitches aside, was the brilliant performance that Oregon State starter Travis Eckert turned in. Eckert only faced 1 more Trojan than the minimum in the 111 pitch complete game that improved him to 6-4 for the season.

Even when Timmy Robinson finally broke up Eckert's perfect game with a 2 out single in the bottom of the 7th inning, a careless baserunning mistake opened the door for the Oregon State defense to throw Robinson out after rounding first too far.

And Brandon Perez, the only USC batter to draw a walk from Eckert, in the 9th, got cleaned up by a game ending double play.

The only real blemish on Eckert's evening was Jeremy Martinez's leadoff homer over the left field fence in the 8th inning.

And Eckert did it while only striking out 5, and only 1 before the last out of the 6th inning, but with all-night-long superb defense by the Beavers behind him.

Not that USC starter Joe Navilhon, and reliever Bernardo Flores, who took over for Navilhon in the 8th, did a bad job either.

Only in the 5th inning, when Billy King led off with a single, and subsequently Trevor Morrison and Christian Donahue wrapped RBI doubles around an RBI single by Cadyn Grenier did the Beavers make much offensive headway. But it was enough to pin the loss on Navilhon, who was a Logan Ice double away from perfect himself over the first 4 innings, dropping him to 5-4 for the season, and on the Trojans.

Oregon State improved to 31-18, and 12-13 in the Pac-12 with the win, edging ahead of USC in the conference race by the margin of the tie-breaker over the Trojans, who are also 12-13 in the Pac-12, and now are 24-26 overall.

The series will continue tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com