It didn’t come easy, but Oregon State extended their winning streak to eight games with a 12-9 victory over Arizona Friday night. Normally reliable Oregon State pitchers struggled on the road, but some great hitting, capped by a grand slam form Garret Forrester, sealed the Beaver win. Oregon State improves to 40-9 overall, and 19-6 in Pac-12 play.
Arizona jumped out to a lead early, grabbing two runs in the bottom of the first. A Daniel Susac single scored Nik McClaughry, and then a fielding error from OSU’s Kyle Dernedde allowed Susac to score.
The Wildcats would hold on to that lead until the top of the third. Wade Meckler opened the inning to double, and then moved to third on a Justin Boyd single. A fielder’s choice form Garret Forrester scored Meckler, giving the Beavers their first run of the night.
A Jacob Melton double then put runners at the corners. A groundout from Gavin Logan scored Forrester, tying the game. Melton then scored on a wild pitch, giving Oregon State the lead. Arizona’s pitching continued to struggle at this point, with Travis Bazzana and Matthew Gretler walking, and Greg Fuchs hitting a single. With the bases loaded, four balls to Kyle Dernedde gave the Beavers their fourth run of the inning, and a 4-2 lead.
A solo home run from Jacob Melton in the top of the fifth extended the lead to 5-2, but Oregon State wouldn’t hold it for long. The bottom of the fifth inning ended up being one of the worst we’ve seen from OSU ace Cooper Hjerpe. Hjerpe gave up a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced, and hit the third to load the bases without an out. After striking out the next batter, Hjerpe gave up a single to Mac Bingham which scored a run for the Wildcats.
Arizona added another on a fielder’s choice before Hjerpe’s day ended. It was a stat line unlike what we usually see from Hjerpe; 4.1 innings pitched during which he allowed seven hits and 5 runs, though only three of them were earned. He did strike out 5 Wildcats, but walked two and hit one. Hopefully Hjerpe can bounce back next weekend.
After Hjerpe’s exit, Arizona tied the game with a sac fly from Tony Bullard. The game would remain tied until the eighth, when Oregon State’s batters decided to completely take over the game.
The Oregon State run started with a Gavin Logan single, and then a Travis Bazzana double put two runners in scoring position with one out on the board. Arizona intentionally walked Greg Fuchs to load the bases, always a dangerous decision against this Beaver team. That decision was immediately punished by pinch hitter Jake Dukart, who hit a single through the right side gap to score Logan and Bazzana.
Jabin Trosky was walked to reload the bases, and then another walk to Wade Meckler gave the Beavers another run. With the bases loaded, Arizona’s Holden Christian managed to strikeout Brady Kasper. Arizona was nearly out of the inning, but the bases were loaded and Garret Forrester was coming to the plate. Forrester had had a quiet night up until this point, so he decided to make some noise.
The grand slam gave the Beavers a 12-5 lead, and it looked like it had put the game away. The Wildcats had different thoughts. A Noah Turley solo home run gave them a run in the bottom of the eight, and after a scoreless top of the ninth from OSU, they still had some time for a comeback.
Tanner O’Tremba opened the bottom of the ninth with another solo home run, and the Beaver lead was down to 12-7. Ben Ferrer got the Beavers first out with a strikeout, but hit Daniel Susac with a pitch and walked Chase Davis to give Arizona a pair of runners. That brought Ryan Brown to the mound in an attempt to close out the game. Brown gave up a double to Mac Bingham, scoring another run for Arizona. A sac fly added another, until Brown managed to strike out Tony Bullard, ending the game in a 12-9 Beaver win.
The Beavers and Wildcats will be back in action Saturday evening, with Game 2 set for a 6:00 PM start time.