In their opening game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, the Beavers found themselves in a big hole as their pitching staff struggled. The Dallas Baptists Patriots went up 6-1 on Oregon State, but the Beavers battled back, and nearly pulled off the comeback. Unfortunately, that attempt felt just short, as the Beavers fell 6-5 and dropped to the Loser’s Bracket in the Fort Worth Regional.
The Patriots showed off their power early, with a Cole Moore hitting a 2 run homer in the top of the first. The Beavers responded in the bottom of the inning, with a Wade Meckler double getting things started. Meckler advanced on a balk, and a Troy Claunch ground out gave the Beavers their first run of the day.
The 2-1 DBU lead lasted until the top of the third, when Kevin Abel started to struggle with control. After starting the inning with a ground out, Abel walked two batters, and advanced them with a wild pitch. He then walked the next two batters, walking in a run and giving the Patriots a 3-1 lead.
Abel got out of the third, but his day was done after that. Abel pitched just 3.0 innings, allowing 2 hits and 3 earned runs, with 8 walks. The umpires called a pretty tight strike zone today, but that lack of control is troubling. Will Frisch took over in the fourth, and also struggled to find his footing. OSU got through the fourth without giving up a run, but the fifth was a different story.
DBU’s Andrew Benefield started off the inning with a solo home run, and a throwing error by Matthew Gretler allowed the next batter, Christian Boulware, to reach second. A single from River Town scored Boulware, and then a double from Jackson Glenn scored Town. That’s three runs in the fifth, giving the Patriots a 6-1 lead.
The Beaver comeback started after that. Ryan Ober opened the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run, though that would be the only run the Beavers would get in that inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Troy Claunch and Jake Dukart walked to give the Beavers a pair of runners, and then a Greg Fuchs home run scored three runs to get the Beavers within one, 6-5.
Unfortunately, that would be as close as Oregon State would get. They got close a couple of times, with runners in scoring position in both the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn’t come up with one more run in the clutch.
The Beavers now head to the loser’s bracket. We’ll find out who they face this afternoon, with regional host TCU taking on McNeese at 4:00 PM PT. The Beavers will face the loser of that contest tomorrow at 10 AM PT.