The Beavers’ losing streak is finally over, as they took a game 1 win in their weekend series against the hated Ducks 4-1. Bryce Fehmel pitched an amazing complete game to finally get the Beavers back in the winning column. OSU’s record is now 32-14-1, and 18-4 in the Pac-12.
After the recent stretch during which the offense could charitably be described as “bad”, and more accurately described as “not unlike the giant trash island floating in the Pacific Ocean,” Beau Philip immediately got things turned around in the first at bat of the game. Philip found a fastball from Oregon’s Robert Ahlstrom right in the zone and ripped it over the left field wall to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
Despite that hot start, Ahlstrom got three quick outs to get out of the inning. Bryce Fehmel took the mound, and it took awhile for him to find a groove. Oregon’s Sam Notitske led things off with a single, and a double from Spencer Steer a couple of batters later got the Ducks a runner in scoring position. Fehmel picked that moment to get his first strikeout of the game, and a pop up from the next batter got the Beavers out of the first with their lead intact.
The Ducks got a pair of outs to get the second started, but then a liner from Preston Jones just stayed fair and skated down the left field line for a double. Kyler McMahan brought Jones home with a double of his own, and then Andy Armstrong scored McMahan with a single. 3-0 Beavers
In the third, Jake Harvey reached base on a bunt combined with a throwing error from pitcher Robert Ahlstrom. A single from Adley Rutschman then put runners at the corners with no outs. No outs turned out to be important, as Ryan Ober then grounded into a double play, but it was enough to get Jones home for an unearned run to put the Beavers up 4-0.
After the Ducks went three up, three down in the second and third, they got something working in the fourth, with a single from Steer getting them their first baserunner since the first inning. After a foul out, Jonny Deluca launched what looked to be a beautiful hit to the center field gap, but then Kyler McMahan turned on the afterburners. He made an incredible diving catch to get that out. By that time, Steer had rounded second base, and his speed couldn’t beat Kyler’s arm, as he made the throw back to first to get the final out of the inning.
The Ducks finally got a run on the board after Fehmel struck Sam Novitske with a pitch, and then Tanner Smith and Spanner Steer both hit singles to bring Novitske home. With no outs it looked like the Ducks would do a bit more damage, but Fehmel worked a pair of fly outs, and then grabbed a bouncing grounder from Evan Williams that came right back at him to end the sixth.
By this time the game had become a pitcher’s duel, with Fehmel and Ahlstrom allowing only one baserunner each in the 7th and none in the 8th. After walking Zack Zalesky in the top of the ninth, Ahlstrom’s day was done, but after a shaky start it turned into an impressive outing. He allowed 7 hits and 4 runs (3 earned, though the one unearned run was based on his error) over 8.1 innings, with 6 strikeouts. and 2 walks.
Zalesky managed to steal second, but Preston Jones then hit a grounder toward third until Steer, the thirdbaseman, made an impressive play on. After getting the out at first, the Ducks also managed to get Zalesky out at third after he slid past the base.
The Ducks had one last chance. After a ground out, the Ducks grabbed two quick singles from Evan Williams and Jakob Goldfarb. All of a sudden the tying run was at the plate. Fehmel and Taylor Adams then had a hell of a battle that went to a full count before Adams hit a grounder to third. Andy Armstrong had a bit of trouble handling the ball, but got the out at first.
With two runners in scoring position and one inning to go, Pat Bailey gave Fehmel the shot to finish things and get the comlete game win. He only needed three pitches to get the strikeout. The Beavers win 4-1.
Fehmel allowed 8 hits and 1 run over 9 innings, with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk. With the Beavers’ pitching suddenly in a very precarious place, it’s great to see Fehmel put in such a dominant effort.
Game 2 gets started at 2:05 PM PT tomorrow. Check back for more updates and analysis of Beaver baseball