Baseball: Beavs start season 2-0

OREGON STATE was noticeably absent from the college baseball preseason polls – the Beavs lost a lot of pitching and offensive firepower from last year’s squad. But Oregon State has started out the 2015 season in a familiar fashion – winning. Saturday’s 4-3 nailbiter over Michigan State pushed their record to 2-0. One stat speaks most to why the Beavs won.

Through seven innings, Oregon State pitchers held Michigan State 0-9 with runners on, and 0-5 with runners in scoring position.

The eighth was a different story, as a single plated two MSU runs, setting up some late-inning drama.

Beaver LF Kyle Nobach singled up the middle on a 1-2 count with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, bringing in Logan Ice in from third with the winning run.

The win is the Beavers’ second walkoff win in as many days as OSU defeated Northwestern Friday 2-1 in the ninth on a balk.

Travis Eckert started his first career game for the Beavers on Saturday and worked six full innings, scattering five hits and a run with two walks and two strikeouts. He did not figure in the decision. The win went to reliever Sam Tweedt, the Beavers’ fifth pitcher of the game, who struck out one en route to notching the final two outs of the top of the 10th.

Oregon State finishes up the four-game road trip in Surprise, Ariz., with a pair of games against New Mexico Sunday and Monday. There is no live video or TV for the tournament but live stats and a free live audio link available on osubeavers.com.

Oregon State jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three innings on Saturday. Hamilton opened the game’s scoring with a single to right in the first. K.J. Harrison made it 2-0 when his solo home run found the grass berm above the left center fence in the third inning. It was his first career home run and the Beavers’ first of the season.

Michigan State scored in the sixth to pull within one, but Nobach’s first hit of the day, a double in the bottom half of the sixth, pushed the Beavers to the 3-1 lead.

A single and sacrifice fly in the eighth for Michigan State tied the game at 3-3.

Nobach, Harrison and Billy King all had two hits to pace the Beavers, who finished with 10 off four Spartan pitchers. Michigan State, meanwhile, tallied seven, and was led by Cam Gibson’s two.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Oregon State has five freshmen on the roster who were drafted, giving the Beavers 11 players overall who have spurned MLB clubs to attend Oregon State.

  • The Beavers return five of their nine starters from a year ago, but lost two All-Pac-12 performers in Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis. They also lost two All-America pitchers in Ben Wetzler and Jace Fry but return righty Andrew Moore, who was 6-5 with a 2.77 ERA in 94 1/3 innings last season and named All-America as a freshman in 2013. OSU’s pitchers combined for a 2.29 earned run average this past season.

  • Oregon State finished the 2014 season with a 45-14 record and 23-7 mark in Pac-12 Conference games. That gave the Beavers their second consecutive league crown and fourth overall under head coach Pat Casey since 1999. OSU started 4-2 last year before winning 15 of their next 16 games.

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