Mitchell Verburg struck out red-hot Spencer Torkelson with two runners on in the bottom of the ninth to give the Beavers a 4-3 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils. It’s a huge win for the Beavers, as they now lead the Pac-12 in wins with an 11-4 conference record. It’s also a statement that the tournament committee will hear in June as they contemplate which teams deserve to host regionals and super regionals.
This marquee win started where it usually does with this team: the pitching. Grant Gambrell is coming on as a breakout player, and may have thrown the best game of his life against ASU today. He went five and two thirds innings, giving up just 5 hits and striking out 10. To do that against anybody is solid. To do it against this potent Sun Devils lineup is phenomenal. With Kevin Abel out for the rest of the year and Sam Tweedt struggling, OSU needed Gambrell to step up as a Sunday starter; he’s done just that.
Mulholland relieved Gambrell in the sixth after a Torkelson home run and a fly ball that was lost in the sun scored two runs for the Sun Devils. Mully held the Sun Devils scoreless for three innings. He would pitch until there were two outs in the ninth, at which point Verburg was summoned from the bullpen to record the aforementioned final out. It cannot be said enough how well Nate Yeskie’s pitching staff played this weekend. The Sun Devils had scored at least 20 runs in every single series this year, and the Beavs held them to just 11 this weekend.
The Beavers threatened early and often in this one, but couldn’t get the right hit at the right time early and were held scoreless through four innings of play. They broke through in the fifth, plating all four of the runs that they would score on the day. Alex McGarry knocked the first run of the game in, continuing a strong weekend for him:
Following this hit, Ober scored from third on a passed ball. After a walk was issued to load the bases, freshman Jake Dukart stepped to the plate. He has struggled to generate offense so far this year, and hasn’t seen many at-bats lately as a result. He may have earned some more going forward with this crucial hit that scored what would become the game-winning runs:
Tack on 2 more thanks to this sweet swing from Jake Dukart. pic.twitter.com/GbXpRb9TZS— Oregon State Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) April 14, 2019
Baseball is a game that plays out over weeks and months, not days. Thus, it’s important to not get too high or too low as a team navigates their regular season schedule. That being said, these last two days have felt monumental for Oregon State baseball. To go on the road against a very strong Pac-12 opponent and win a series after losing on Friday is an extremely hard thing to do. This series will be something that this team can look back to for confidence as they inevitably face adversity in the months to come.
Their next test will come against Arizona at Goss next weekend. The series will get started on Thursday at 7pm, and will air on the Pac-12 Network.