Beaver Baseball is back.
Wow, that felt great to type. How is it to read? Pretty sweet, huh?
Well, if today is any indication of what’s to come this season, then there’s plenty of reason for optimism for this upcoming season.
So what happened in this first game of our 2018 campaign? Let me break it down...
The boys in orange and black wasted no time getting back into the W column, as they notched their first win in their first game of the season against the New Mexico Lobos.
Oregon State sent out ace pitcher Luke Heimlich to get the season started off on the right foot, and Cool Hand Luke did just that. Heimlich showed no lingering rust as he came out and dominated the Lobos with a quality start. Heimlich allowed 2 earned runs on 4 hits over 6 innings of work. Sure, we’re used to seeing Luke throw shutouts like no one’s business, but this was a great sign to see after all the time Heimlich has been off.
The game started off in a slower fashion, as the Beavs and the Lobos traded scoreless innings throughout the first 3 innings of the game. Just as Beaver fans started getting a little squirrely, the Beaver offense came through in the bottom of the 4th with back-to-back home runs. The first home run came in the form of a 2-run shot courtesy of the famous Nick Madrigal, only to be matched 1 batter later by a solo dinger from Trevor Larnach. Earlier this week, I made a point in a roundtable discussion with several other BTD writers that the Beavs needed to improve their power hitting heading into this season. Welp, they heard me, and they responded with an awesome display of power hitting in this third inning.
After another quick inning from Heimlich in the top of the 5th, OSU picked right back up from where they left off. Madrigal picked up his 3rd hit of the game in addition to his 3rd RBI of the game with a single to drive in Cadyn Grenier. Then, just a few batters later, Tyler Malone joined in on the fun with a base hit of his own to drive in Madrigal, making the score 5-0 in favor of the Beavs.
Things seemed to be going great for the Beavs until they ran into a bump in the road in the 6th inning. The Lobos got on the board in the top of the 6th thanks to a fielder’s choice that Lobo’s shortstop Hayden Schilling beat out that to drive in Connor Mang to put the Lobos on the board. One batter later Jared Mang, Connor’s big bro, slapped a base hit to drive Schilling in, getting the Lobos to 5-2, still in favor of the Beavs. Heimlich managed to get out of the inning and get the Beavs back on track.
From that point on, the game seemed to coast, as the Beavs and Lobos seemed to swap fairly fast innings. After the 6th inning, Brandon Eisert came on in relief of Heimlich and shut the Lobos down with 3 perfect innings and the save to get Oregon State their first win of the season in a 5-2 victory.
The offensive leaders for the Beavs included Nick Madrigal, who recorded 3 hits and 3 RBIs on 4 plate appearances, as well as Trevor Larnach, who notched 2 hits and 1 RBI on 3 plate appearances in addition to 1 walk. Heimlich and Eisert were the only pitchers the Beavs needed on the day, as pitching stole the show for the Beavs, picking up right where last season left off.
It was fantastic to see Beaver Baseball finally return today, and they certainly don’t look like they’ve missed a beat from last season. However, there’s no time to waste, as Oregon State will take on Gonzaga tomorrow at 12:00 PM PST in Surprise, AZ. Come back here to BTD to get the recap of that game as well!