OSU gets bounce back win vs SDSU

Brian Rathbone Sports Contributor

The Oregon State baseball team used a seven-run fifth inning in the final game of their two-game non-conference series to defeat San Diego State 9-6 Tuesday evening at Goss Stadium in Corvallis.

Coming into the game the Beavers (17-6, 3-3 Pac-12) found themselves on the wrong end of a four-game skid. Prior to the game even against the Aztecs (7-17) junior center fielder Kyle Nobach could sense a change in the clubhouse and that the quality of play would be different.

“Before the game it didn’t seem like we were on a four-game losing streak,” said Nobach. “Everybody was loose and having fun. And that’s what it’s supposed to be–fun.

“You always play the game best when you are having fun, and that’s what did today.”

However, the Beavers came out flat, falling behind 3-0 in the first inning and not being able to score a run until the fifth inning.

Through the first four innings the Beaver bats had no answer for right-hander Cody Thompson, who entered the game with 7.66 earned run average in 9 1/3 innings of work, while opposing batters hit .295 against him. Instead Thompson mowed down the Beaver bats allowing only two his and zero runs in the first four frames.

That all changed when Thompson took the mound in the fifth inning. Sophomore right fielder Jack Anderson drew a walk, followed up by a perfect bunt by Nobach that hugged the first baseline. The Beavers would finally get on the board when junior designated hitter Billy King singled up the middle to bring home Anderson from second to cut the the Aztec’s lead to 3-1.

The previous night, Nobach said that he thought his two-run home run would spark the Beaver offense, it didn’t. Instead tonight it was a bunt that jump started the offense.

“Anything you do something little, it’s weird how bunts work,” said Nobach. “It kinda sets mood and our mentality was a lot different all around and we played better baseball.”

The rally continued as freshman second basemen Nick Madrigal delivered a two-out, two-run single bringing home Nobach and junior shortstop Trevor Morrison to tie the game at three a piece.

After sophomore first baseman KJ Harrison gave the Beavers the lead with an RBI single, it was one of Oregon State’s smallest players who produced the biggest swing. Sophomore left fielder Christian Donahue launched a 1-0 pitch over the right field fence for his first career home as an Oregon state Beaver, which gave them a 7-3 lead.

“What’s funny is that when he hit it I thought ‘man, he smoked it and just missed it,’” said head coach Pat Casey. “He got a ball up in the zone and it turned out pretty good.”

“I don’t think I ever seen someone run around the bases that fast,” said Nobach with a smile recalling Donahues 3-run homerun. “It was awesome, that obviously sparked us.”

Thompson, who was dominate early, was unable to get out of the inning finishing the night with giving up four earned runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. Despite not racking up the hits, the team was confident with contact they were making early.

“Throught the first four innings we were smoking ball,” said Donahue. “It wasn’t like the past stretch where we were flat.”

Freshman right-hander Jordan Britton made his first career start for Oregon State against the Aztecs. Early in the game he struggled with leaving pitches up in the zone.

The Aztecs jumped on Britton early in the opening frame. Sophomore third basemen Justin Wylie singled on the first pitch of the game, then sophomore centerfielder David Hensley reached on a perfectly-placed bunt. Britton battled back to get two outs, but senior left fielder Tyler Adkison delivered a bases-clearing double off of the wall in right-center, plating three runs.

After the opening inning Britton found his groove retiring the next 10 Aztec batters that he faced, finishing his first career start giving up three runs on three hits in four innings of work.

“The first inning was rocky,” said Britton. “I can definitely build from it. There are a lot of positives to take away from tonight.”

Freshman right-hander and sophomore left-hander Luke Heimlich provided 3 2/3 innings of relief allowing two Aztec runs before junior left-hander Max Engelbrekt finished the game with a four-out save.

The Beavers return to their conference schedule when they play host a three-game series against Washington. The series will also serve as a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the 2006 College World Series championship team. First pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Goss Stadium.

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