Beav’s sweep Bears

Brian Rathbone Sports Contributer

The Oregon State baseball team completes the sweep on Sunday with a 7-1 victory over Central Arkansas.

The Beavers (22-7, 5-4 Pac-12) got a four-hit shutout from sophomore left-hander Luke Heimlich, who went 7 2/3 innings and tied a career high, seven strikeouts, in the series finale against the visiting Bears (13-17, 5-7 Southland).

“I thought he really changed speeds well,” said head coach Pat Casey. “I thought his stuff was good, and he kept the ball down.”

After throwing 21 pitches in the opening frame, Heimlich settled into a groove, making quick work of the Bear batters.

“The first inning was definitely not a pretty inning,” said Heimlich. “Then the third and the fourth inning was when it really clicked and I was finding my offspeed. I wasn’t bouncing as many, my misses were small and at the location where I wanted, so I was more consistent from the third on.”

“It’s hard to play defense when you are kind of standing around for a while,” said sophomore left fielder Christian Donahue. “I think that’s what he is very efficient in, is working fast. He attacks the tempo.”

Oregon State couldn’t take advantage of early opportunities to jump on Central Arkansas, standing four baserunners in the first two innings. The Beavers finished 3-16 (.188) at the plate with runners in scoring position.

“I didn’t think we got enough quality at bats from the middle of our order, I thought we could have done a better job there,” Casey said. “When we get guys on we need to bring them home.”

The struggle at the plate can be attributed to the lack of quality pitches the Beavers were seeing. OSU batters were patient at the plate, drawing seven walks from Bear pitchers.

“It’s kinda hard sometimes when you don’t have a lot of hits, when you look at a lot of walks, you don’t get a lot of opportunities to swing the bat,” said Casey.

“Our main focus was to have really good, quality at bats,” said Donahue, who finished with two doubles and a single. “(We wanted) to strike the balls that are in the zone, and take the ones that aren’t. We did really good this weekend at that.”

The Beavers broke through for two runs in the third innings, aided by fielding error from the Bears. Donahue started the inning off with his second double of the game, then freshman second basemen Nick Madrigal reached on a walk. Donahue and Madrigal pulled off a double-steal, advancing to second and third, bringing up Jack Anderson.

The sophomore rightfielder hit a routine ground ball to Bear’s shortstop Brooks Balistreri who air-mailed the throw to first, allowing both Donahue and Madrigal to score the game’s first runs.

The Beavers tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning without a single hit, taking advantage of three walks, and another Bear error in the field to push the lead to 4-0.

Through six innings, the Beavers had four runs on two hits. In the seventh inning, junior catcher Logan Ice, Anderson, and junior designated hitter Billy King hit consecutive singles which contributed to the team’s three-run inning.

Oregon State will host Portland on Tuesday, then return to Pac-12 play next week with a three-game series against Washington State in Pullman, Wash. starting on Thursday.

“We have to win games,” said Casey.  “It’s great to have a sweep, to win three, hopefully it will give us a little momentum.”

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