Oregon State built up a big lead against the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in their second game of the season, but a late game rally almost gave Minnesota a comeback win. The Beavers survived to win 8-7 and pick up their first win of the season.
That's it for the first Dub of 2023!#GoBeavs pic.twitter.com/JxOaxF0Lod— Oregon State Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) February 18, 2023
Gavin Turley once again got the Beaver scoring started, this time with a sac fly in the bottom of the first that scored Brady Kasper. Minnesota tied things in the top of the second when a fielding error from Kyle Dernedde allowed Jake Perry to score. Then, in the bottom of the second, things took a big swing in the Beavers favor.
Garrett Forrester was hit by a pitch to lead things off, and then Mikey Kane and Tanner Smith were both walked to load the bases with one out. A Kyle Dernedde single scored Forrester, and then a Brady Kasper grounder scored Kane. Finally, a wild pitch allowed Smith to reach home, giving OSU a 4-1 lead.
The Gophers got one back in the top of the third, when Brett Bateman scored on a Riley Swenson ground ball. The Beavers answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, the first from Micah McDowell on a fielder’s choice, the second from Mikey Kane on a Brady Kasper single.
Oregon State tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth. A Garret Forrester fly ball scored Brady Kasper, and a Micah McDowell ground ball scored Ruben Cedillo. Now up 8-2, it looked the Beavers had the game well in hand. That feeling lasted until the top of the seventh.
Pitcher Rhett Larson had performed well in the fifth and sixth innings after coming in to relieve Jacob Kmatz, but got into trouble right away in the seventh. Brett Bateman got on base with a double, and after walking Brady Counsell, Larosn’s day was finished.
Nelson Keljo came on with two on and one out. On the next at bat, an error from 2nd Baseman Travis Bazzana on what should have been a fielder’s choice loaded the bases. Minnesota’s Riley Swenson then hit a single to give the Gophers their first run of the inning. Keljo then walked Minnesota’s Ike Mezzenga for another run. Finally, Kris Hokenson hit a big double to right center to score another 3 runs, and all of a sudden it was a one run game.
Hokenson was put out at third after trying to stretch his double to a triple, and then Keljo got the final out of the inning by striking out Kyle Bork. Oregon State’s batting couldn’t do anything to build their lead back, but Ryan Brown came to the mound to close out the game and put on a clinic. Brown allowed only one base runner in the final two innings, and a double play immediately took care of that. The Beavers survived to win 8-7, and move to 1-1 on the season.
Brown got his first save of the year, and Rhett Larson got the win, giving him a 1-0 record. Jacob Kmatz looked alright in his first start of the year, striking out 4 over 4.0 innings pitched, though he allowed 7 hits and 1 earned run.
Tomorrow the Beavers will have a rematch with the New Mexico Lobos, with first pitch set for 11:00 AM PT.