Oregon State University baseball loses fourth in a row

Brian Rathbone Sports Contributor

It was a back and forth affair between the No. 6 Oregon State baseball team and the visiting San Diego State in the midweek non-conference series opener Monday night at Goss Stadium.

The Beavers (16-6, 3-3 Pac-12) scored, the Aztecs(6-16) responded. Aztecs would jump out to a lead, the Beavers would rally back. The seesaw battle would continue into the ninth inning, when the Aztecs delivered the knockout punch with a solo homerun by shortstop Alan Trejo off of junior Max Engelbrekt (0-1) lifting SDSU to a 6-5 victory over OSU.

The loss was the Beaver’s fourth in a row after getting swept by Cal over the weekend, and against the Aztecs, they found new ways to lose the game.

“We need to play better baseball,” said head coach Pat Casey. “It’s tough to win when you don’t make routine plays.

“We don’t make routine plays, we walked people, we left pitches in the middle of the plate when were ahead in the count. It all comes down to pitching and defense and we did not do enough of that.”

Freshman right-hander Bryce Fehmel started the game and went 5 2/3 innings, surrendering eight hits, striking out three Aztec batters, while giving up four earned runs. But a pair of walks and wild pitches plagued Fehmel throughout the contest.

“I’ve seen him a lot better,” said Casey of Fehmel who had his longest outing of his young career. “The walks and balls that he left in the middle of the plate I didn’t think he was sharp at all. After he gave up four runs he was a lot better.”

After falling behind 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, junior centerfielder Kyle Nobach stepped into the batter’s box with two outs and runner in scoring position. Nobach then drove the first pitch from Aztec pitcher Marcus Reyes over the left field wall to put the Beavers back on top 2-1.

“(The pitch) was inner-half of a plate, there was a runner on second so I went up looking for something early over the plate, I put a good swing on it and got the barrel on it,” Nobach said. “I thought that was going to get us rolling.”

The lead however, was short lived. After using only three pitches to get the first two outs of the inning, by the end of the inning the Beavers surrendered three runs before registering the final out. The Aztecs were able to score three runs with only registering two hits. Fehmel walked two batters, which were compounded by three balls that got away from sophomore catcher Michael Gretler. The Aztecs capped off the inning with a two-run single by leftfielder Tyler Adkison to give SDSU a 4-2 lead.

The Beavers would return the favor and go on a two-out rally of their own. Freshman shortstop Nick Madrigal started with a sharply hit single to left, which brought up sophomore first baseman KJ Harrison. With one swing of the bat, Harrison would tie the ball game with a towering home run down the leftfield line for his fourth homerun of the season.

While the team’s offense has been struggling the past four games, Harrison has been able to string together quality at bats with all four of his home runs coming in the last eight games, he doesn’t allow himself to over-think when the hits aren’t coming early.

“I fixed my approach,” Harrison said. “I just continued to keep myself to keep my head up and keep it going, just keeping the positive attitude.”

After eight total runs through the first three innings, the pitching picked up with neither team being able to cross home plate until 2-outs in the bottom of the seventh inning when sophomore leftfielder Christian Donahue deliver a RBI triple to bring home junior shortstop Trevor Morrison who reached on a blooping pinch-hit single to give the Beavers a 5-4 lead. But the lead would not last.

Despite the improvement at the plate and scoring all five runs with two outs, for Casey, there is no way to spin this game other than a loss.

“You either win or lose,” he said.

The Beavers will look to end their four game slide on Tuesday in their final game of the series at 5:35 p.m. against San Diego State.