Beavers walk their way to first home win of the season

Trent Caraway, Oregon State v. North Dakota State. Feb. 29, 2024.
Trent Caraway, Oregon State v. North Dakota State. Feb. 29, 2024.
Fern Barber

The Beaver baseball team recorded 15 walks to help them soundly defeat North Dakota State 19-7 despite a shaky first-inning pitching performance. Making this their fourth consecutive home opening win. 

Ian Lawson made his first start of the season; however, it wasn’t the outing anyone anticipated. He was relieved in the first inning after walking four batters, hitting a batter, and giving up five earned runs. 

Hutcheson came in for Lawson and pitched three innings, allowing only one run and three hits with two strikeouts to secure his first win of the year. 

Although Oregon State only allowed two runs the rest of the game, it was obvious the pitchers struggled to throw a strike, something the team is unfamiliar with. Going into the game, OSU had 72 strikeouts in the last eight games.

“I don’t care if the other team gets hits… We [have] a good defense; let them put in play,” Oregon State head coach Mitch Canham said, referring to the walks that led to the five runs in the first inning by North Dakota. “We can’t defend ball four.”

The weather was less than desirable for both teams, and it was clear that the pitchers had trouble gripping the ball. But Oregon State coach Mitch Canham didn’t want to use the rain as a reason why his pitchers were missing the zone. 

“We all live in the Northwest; we got to play in the rain a little bit… We have four games this weekend and four games next weekend,” Canham said. “It’s going to be chilly; that’s why we practice in this [weather] all the time.” 

The wind chill and rain didn’t stop the Beavers from responding quickly. They nearly evened up the score in the bottom of the first. Freshman Trent Caraway drove in the first two runs with a bases-loaded single scoring, Australia native Travis Bazanna, and last week’s PAC-12 player of the week, Mason Guerra. 

The second inning was an offensive explosion for the Beavers. Micah McDowell and Guerra both walked, leading to an RBI double from Dallas Macias, who leads the team with a .471 batting average, and an RBI single from Caraway to tie the game at 6. 

To seal the inning, sophomore Jacob Krieg hit a bases-clearing double to put the Beavers ahead 9-6. 

A quick third inning left both teams scoreless, but it did not silence their bats. Especially Washington State transfer Elijah Hainline. Hainline went 3-4 with five RBIs and two runs. 

This was a much-needed performance for the shortstop. Last weekend, Hainline went 1-11 and recorded only RBI, which found him on the bench during the game against Michigan. 

“It’s a long season, so I didn’t want to get too discouraged at the start of the season especially,” Hainline said when talking about finally having his moment. 

Before coming to Oregon State, Hainline shined at Washington State. He was named All-PAC-12 Conference Honorable Mention and started in all 51 games. Not to mention, he had a seven-game hitting streak and a 17-game on-base streak. 

“There’s a little bit of (pressure), but I have the experience, and I’ve been through the scuffle before so it’s nothing new,” Hainline said about wanting to make a good impression on his new team. “Obviously (I) want to make a good impression, but you know the guys are with you, the guys who are actually in the fight, are there so it really doesn’t matter what happens outside of that.”  

Hainline’s first hit of the game came off a perfect bunt in the fourth inning, which led to an error and put runners at second and third. The bunt was his call and used it as an opportunity to get his offensive game going. Bazzana followed Hainline with a standup triple, putting the Beavers ahead by five. 

The walks kept coming, and at the bottom of the fifth inning, three walks in a row were issued with Hainline ready to bat. He hit a bases-clearing double to bring their total to 15 runs by the end of the fifth inning.

Despite the early runs given up in the first two innings, the bullpen looked good. Junior Noah Ferguson and sophomore Tyler Mejia managed to pick off two NDSU players at first base. 

The Beavers wrapped up the game early by scoring four more runs in the sixth inning, implementing the ten-run mercy rule with the final score of 19-7, Beavers. 

You can catch the remaining games of the series at Goss Stadium on March 1 at 4 p.m., March 2 at 1 p.m., and March 3 at 12:30 p.m. 

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    Brad Van GundyMar 1, 2024 at 8:38 am

    Great article, Very thorough and informative. It was like I was at the game.