Stop me if you’ve heard this before; Bryce Fehmel was awesome tonight.
Did we all know that? Sure. But it’s nice to hear it again. And tonight’s performance against #18 ranked UCLA was another reminder of how well Fehm has pitched down the stretch for Oregon State.
Fehmel’s electric pitching, and Oregon State’s fantastic defense, was needed frequently tonight, as both OSU and UCLA were locked in a tight pitcher’s duel throughout most of the game. UCLA starter Zach Pettway was sharp throughout the first 5 innings with shutouts up until the 6th as well. In addition, Oregon State had left runners on base every inning throughout the game. And it felt as if the missed opportunities were starting to pile on.
However, that all changed in the bottom of the 6th. Oregon State managed to plate 1 run thanks to a groundout by Tyler Malone. One batter later, Kyle Nobach broke the game wide open with a 3-run homer to open the Beaver lead to 4-0 after 6.
That would go on to be more than enough to seal the deal for Oregon State. UCLA managed to get back 1 run the following inning thanks to an RBI single from Jeremy Ydens, but that would be the only fight the Bruins put up the rest of the game, as the Beaver defense and pitching shut down the UCLA offense.
Fehmel was up to the challenge tonight for Oregon State and delivered 6.2 innings with 1 ER on 3 hits. Once Fehmel was done, freshman Kevin Abel came in for relief in the 8th and proceeded to slam the door on the Bruins with 2 perfect innings. It was refreshing to see the freshman pitch with confidence after shaky performances in his last 2 starts, and this brief appearance will go a long way towards boosting his confidence as Oregon State gears up for regionals.
The story for tonight’s game was similar to yesterday’s; hitting on both sides was minimal, and all the action was coming from the bullpen. Against a quality regionals team such as UCLA, a hard-fought win like this is fantastic regardless if it’s a slugfest or a pitcher’s duel.
This win secures the series against the ranked Bruins, but this also keeps the Beavers conference championship hopes alive. However, this all hinges on Washington being able to sweep Stanford, which is a tall task for any team in the nation. Still, this win essentially locks Oregon State as a national seed, and as a host for a regional. It was a good day for the Beavers.
Oregon State will go for the series sweep tomorrow at 2:00 PM PT in the final game of the regular season for Oregon State. Oh, and we will finally have a nationally televised game, as this game will also be viewed on ESPNU! Check back with Building the Dam for more coverage.