Romp has Beavers, ‘Cats set for Game 3
By: Grant Lucas
CORVALLIS — As fans filed out of Goss Stadium late Sunday night, a father turned to his son and made an observation.
“That,” the dad said, “was a beat down.”
Less than 24 hours after struggling to two runs on seven hits in a 10-inning loss, Oregon State came back with authority on Sunday, bashing out a season-high 21 hits — six shy of the school record set in 1954 — en route to a 12-4 victory in the second game of the NCAA baseball Corvallis Super Regional to force a do-or-die third game tonight.
Game 3, originally scheduled to start at 4 p.m., has been changed to a 7:05 p.m. start.
“Yesterday (the first game) kind of opened our eyes,” Oregon State outfielder Dylan Davis said after Sunday’s blowout. “It made us focus a lot more and really test ourselves.”
The Beavers (49-11), playing as the visiting team, erupted for five runs on six hits in the top of the first inning. With the Wildcats yet to come to the plate, that would be the closest Kansas State (45-18) would get, and that was the difference, according to Wildcats coach Brad Hill.
“Obviously, the top of the first pretty much told the story of the game,” Hill said.
Oregon State came alive with three extra-base hits in the top of the first inning alone, finishing with seven — besting last weekend’s total of four for a three-game regional — and supplying freshman pitcher Andrew Moore with a five-run cushion before he even threw a pitch.
“It (the early lead) was definitely huge,” said Moore, who finished with 8 2/3 innings and a career-high nine strikeouts, including a string of five straight spanning the second and third innings. “It let me relax, and we kind of fed off that the whole game.”
Moore earned his school-record-tying 14th win of the season, but it was Oregon State’s offense that stole the show.
Tyler Smith and Kavin Keyes both tied career highs with four hits, each going 4-for-5 for the Beavers. Smith added three RBIs, as did Davis, who was 2-for-6 with a home run.
“As a team, you really want to get out and throw the first punch,” Davis said. “You want to put the other team on their heels. … We really took advantage of stuff, stayed patient and waited for pitches that we wanted.”
The Beavers scored five runs on six hits in the first inning, including back-to-back two-out home runs by Michael Conforto and Davis. For Conforto, it was his 11th homer of the season and second in as many games. His two-run blast in Saturday’s series opener accounted for OSU’s only scoring in a 6-2, 10-inning defeat.
On Sunday, Ryan Barnes increased his hit streak to 12 straight games with a run-scoring single to center field that scored Danny Hayes, giving the Beavers a 3-0 lead and knocking Wildcat pitcher Blake McFadden out of the ballgame after just 23 pitches and two outs recorded.
“It was nice to come out and get some runs,” said Oregon State coach Pat Casey, whose team scored eight of its 12 runs with two outs. “I thought our guys did a good job of coming out ready to play. It took the edge off us.”
Before even coming to the plate, Kansas State was in its largest deficit of this postseason.
“The game got away (from us),” Hill said. “There was nothing you could do about it.”
A Smith single and Andy Peterson’s bunt single in the top of the second inning gave the Beavers eight hits, surpassing their hit total from the first game. Davis stepped up with the infield drawn in and poked a two-run single through the middle, and the Beavers added two more runs in the third for a commanding 9-0 lead.
Jared King put the Wildcats on the board with a solo home run to right field to lead off the bottom of the second. Kansas State got two runs in the fourth with consecutive sacrifice flies.
Oregon State’s victory, before a Goss Stadium record crowd of 3,602, sets up a win-or-go-home third game tonight, with the victor heading to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., next weekend.
The Beavers have not been back to the CWS since winning their second straight national title in 2007, but Oregon State is not looking too far ahead.
“We’re worried about one pitch at a time (in Game 3),” Keyes said. “We can’t worry about Omaha. … Just come out with the same energy that we did today.”