Morrell’s magic secures Beaver victory

Third Baseman Mason Guerra (#9) hits the ball in OSU’s game against CSun on Mar. 9 at Goss Stadium in Corvallis.
Third Baseman Mason Guerra (#9) hits the ball in OSU’s game against CSun on Mar. 9 at Goss Stadium in Corvallis.
Morgan Barnaby

Bases loaded, up by one, and a full count, freshman pitcher Matthew Morrell blew a fastball by Shunsuke Sakaino for strike three to record the save as the Beavers beat the California State University, Northridge 7-6 in Goss Stadium Saturday afternoon.

“I think that was the first one (save),” Morrell said. “I think that was the first one ever.”

After the adrenaline rush had subsided the Southern California native was able to reflect on the feelings surrounding his first save as a Beaver.

“Just joy,” Morrell said. “The excitement for the fans, they all had my back, all the support, just a huge feeling, especially as a freshman, just knowing all the support I have behind me.”

To get to that point, a tie-ball game with two outs in the eighth inning saw Gavin Turley arrive at the plate. He then hammered a ball past the third baseman to score what would be the winning run for the Beavers. 

“He was heavy slider all day, so honestly it was just waiting for that slider,” Turley said on the hit.

Oregon State struck first as Travis Bazzana was brought in by a Mason Guerra single to get the scoring started.

The Beavers continued to score in the second, as Micah McDowell hit one off the right field wall to drive in two runs extending the lead to 3-0.

Jacob Kmatz started his outing rough, allowing singles to the first two batters. After that, he cleaned up his pitching quickly. Not allowing another hit until the third when Jakob Simons smacked a solo shot with two outs to cut the deficit to two.

The third inning ended with confusion around the stadium, as Gavin Turley was hit with a throw as he ran to second base. Due to him being in the way and interfering with the throw, he was called out and Easton Talt, who hit the ball initially, was also called out at first base. Jacob Krieg who rounded the bases and touched home didn’t get the run to count due to this debacle with the runners.

“I thought it bounced through the hole, so I was seeing if I should go to third,” Turley said about the play.

Turley isn’t the only one who was left bemused by the situation.

“That was a tough one,” Canham said. “You have to slide in those situations. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I almost would have said one hundred out of one hundred if I didn’t just see that, but the guy picks it up and goes over to first base.”

Turley asked Canham when he got back to the dugout what he would have done in that position, to which he replied, “I probably would’ve gotten hit in the back of the head too, I’m a little taller so maybe it would be my neck.”

Kmatz got into more trouble in the fourth inning, allowing back-to-back singles and then a double to bring in a runner. A sacrifice fly by Andrew Gauna advanced both runners to tie the game at three. 

A wild pitch led to the Matadors taking their first lead of the game, 4-3. Kmatz ended the inning with a sharp comebacker that flew right into his glove to get out of the inning.

Kmatz entered the game only allowing a single run through 14 innings with a 0.64 ERA. He exited the game in the sixth frame with an ERA of 2.33, being replaced by Joey Mundt.

An RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning by Jabin Trosky saw Talt round the bases and score to tie the game at four. 

With a runner on third for the Beavers, Joshua Romero got called in to pitch for the Matadors with one out in the seventh. The first batter he faced was struck out, then he proceeded to throw 9 straight balls, walking two before finally throwing a strike that pinch hitter Tanner Smith smacked for an RBI, making the score 5-4. 

Romero cleaned up his pitching, as he recorded the final out of the inning with the bases loaded.

With two outs in the eighth, the Beavers made a call to the bullpen, bringing out lefty Tyler Mejia. He had a favorable matchup, facing lefty batter Roberto Gonzalez, yet Gonzalez took him yard, blasting a two-run home run over the right field wall to reclaim the lead for CSUN.

The eighth inning continued with Bazzana reaching base on an error, and Guerra reaching base on a HBP. Romero struck out Dallas Macias, but Krieg smacked a single to deep left to score Bazzana on the play, tying the game at 6 a piece.

Romero still couldn’t finish off the Beavers hitters, as Turley hit a ball just past the third base to score another run, taking the lead back for the Beavers 7-6.

In the top of the ninth, the Beavers brought in freshman Drew Talavs to try and get the save for the Beavers. He gave up a double to the first batter, then walked the second, all with no outs. 

The Beavers then decided to bring in another freshman, Matthew Morrell, to try and secure the game for the Beavers. Morrell got the first batter he faced to ground out to the first baseman, but the Beavers then intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases with only one out. 

Connor Stewart then came to the plate and popped one up to the catcher for the second out of the inning.

Morell secured the series victory for the Beavers while leaving the bases loaded for the Matadors 

Bazzana recorded two hits in the game and was mere inches away from a third in which he just missed a home run.

Beaver pitchers were unable to get Simons out for the Matadors, as he went 3-3 in the game with two walks and was a triple away from the cycle.

Travis Bazzana, March 9, 2024. (Morgan Barnaby)
Jacob Krieg, March 9, 2024

These two teams finish their series tomorrow at 12:05 back at Goss Stadium. The Beavers look to finish off the sweep and reach a double-digit win streak, as they sit at nine games currently, and are 14-1 on the season.

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