Beaver bats start hot, dominant pitching closes strong

Travis Bazzana, March 7, 2024.
Travis Bazzana, March 7, 2024.
Miky Pope

Offense was on display early as Oregon State hosted California State University, Northridge, for the second game of their series in which the Beavers won 8-6. Jaren Hunter toed the slab for the Beavers on Friday, looking to have a bounce-back start, but was rudely welcomed by the Matadors.

After giving free passes to the first two hitters, Hunter gave up a single to CSUN’s left fielder Kevin Fitzer. Two batters later, designated hitter Ben Griffin would lace a two-run single into center field. Beavers down 3-0.

The early deficit wouldn’t discourage the Beavers as they came up in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff single from Travis Bazzana and a catcher’s interference would get the first two Beavers on.

A second catcher’s interference on Dallas Macias would load the bases as the heart of the lineup came to bat. A Gavin Turley walk scored Bazzana, and a passed ball would allow pinch-runner Dawson Santana to score. With the Beavers down by one and with two runners on, Jacob Krieg would step to the plate.

“He never swings at the first pitch. You look at the numbers, everyone knows,” head coach Mitch Canham said after the game.

Krieg’s first pitch he saw traveled 405 ft. and drove in three runs. His home run was the hardest recorded hit in Beaver history at 118mph. Beavers ahead 6-3.

CSUN scored three more runs in the top of the third to tie the game. But the Beavs put their foot down there. Aggressive baserunning in the bottom of the third by Canon Reeder and Bazzana would lead to Reeder scoring on a Turley walk.

Krieg would continue his impressive day at the plate in the fourth, with a booming double off the left field wall, and scored on an Elijah Hainline double to right center. After taking the lead, the Beavers wouldn’t look back as relief pitchers Ian Lawson, AJ Hutchenson, and Bridger Holmes combined for five scoreless innings, only allowing two hits between them.

Holmes would come in to relieve Hutchenson in the ninth. With two runners on and nobody out, CSUN looked to be building momentum to upset the Beavers. But Holmes struck out the next three Matador hitters in order, with only sliders, to seal the win for the Beavers.

The Beavers are now 13-1 on the season and will look to take the series on March 9 at 1:05 p.m. at Goss Stadium.

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