No. 3 Beavs tightrope their way to series win

NOW THAT WAS a baseball series. No. 4 Oregon State took the rubber game from No. 21 Arizona State on Sunday in a 4-3 thriller that saw OSU get out jam after jam with some stellar defense on the diamond. The Beavs walked the tightrope from the fifth inning on, turning back would-be tying runners in scoring position and keeping alive their remarkable winning ways.

Friday saw Oregon State one-hit ASU. The Sun Devils then no-hit the Beavs on Saturday.

Sunday was destined to serve as an exceptional defensive encore, moving Oregon State to 21-2 overall, (5-1; Pac-12).

With the Beavs up 4-3 in the fifth inning and with ASU (13-7-1, 2-4) already having scored twice and still with the bases loaded with one out, the count went full. Two fouls later, the ASU batsman lifted a fly to right-center.

Dylan Davis caught the fly ball and came up firing, with a one-hop strike to catcher Jake Rodriguez, who stood his ground and held onto the ball, nailing the runner trying to score from third.

The Beavs were just getting warmed up.

Danny Hayes made a diving stab at first, followed by a flip to the pitcher to snuff out another rally in the sixth when ASU had runners on second and third.

In the seventh, Oregon State got out of another bases loaded jam.

In the eighth, with the tying run on second, Oregon State struck out the batter.

In the ninth, again the tying run on second, the ASU base runner tried to advance to third on a ball in the dirt. Rodriguez fired a strike to end it.

Max Engelbrekt and Scott Schultz combined for 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win and save, respectively.

Michael Conforto hit what turned out to be the game-winning sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Oregon State jumps out of conference play for a series at San Diego Thursday through Saturday. First pitch Thursday is slated for 6 p.m. PT.

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