Hainline sees two late runs, secures second rivalry win

Junior Elijah Hainline prepares to bat in a home against versus University of Oregon in Goss Stadium on April 27, 2024
Junior Elijah Hainline prepares to bat in a home against versus University of Oregon in Goss Stadium on April 27, 2024
Maya Kirschenbaum

In classic rivalry fashion, the Oregon State Beavers and University of Oregon Ducks headed into the bottom of the 8th inning tied 2-2 on Saturday, April 27 at Goss Stadium.

The Beavers secured the victory, 4-2.

Beaver shortstop Elijah Hainline stepped up to plate with runners on second and third. Hainline cranked a line drive single into left field on the first pitch he saw. Krieg and Webber scored to secure the second win of the series.

Hainline, the Washington State transfer, came into the week with a chip on his shoulder after hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth against Portland State on Tuesday, April 23, ending a scoreless game.

“You just have to continually come out here and have a good mindset each at-bat, pitch-by-pitch,” said Hainline. “I think that has been the biggest key for me this week.”

Hainline could not have done this alone. Momentum struck after a “Let’s go Beavers” chant broke out in the bottom of the 7th inning. Brady Kasper led the inning off with a hard-hit double down the right-field line.

Goss Stadium erupted. The fans created a shift in the energy, which led to a chopper from sophomore Jabin Troksy that broke a 1-1 tie scoring Kasper.

“I got the lead there and that was huge,” said Trosky. “(The Ducks) fought back, but shoutout to Hainline for getting it done.”

Hainline has proved to be a valuable addition to the team and understands the importance of winning games at home for the Corvallis community.

“All you ever want to do when you come to a new program is to find a way to help them win,” said Hainline. “My goal since day one is to win baseball games, and there is no better place than Corvallis to do that.”

The support from the Beaver fanbase was very apparent after big strikeouts from starting pitcher, Jacob Kmatz, middle reliever, Joey Mundt and closing pitcher, Bridger Holmes.

The right-handed arsenal struck out 15 batters. Kmatz matched a career-high 10 strikeouts through 6.1 innings and 96 pitches.

“You know you’re going to get such a great outing out of (Kmatz) every single time he comes out,” said Hainline. “The crowd loves him and gets into it and you know he is just going to get you out of it no matter what.”

Kmatz’s breaking ball fooled the Ducks. Five strikeouts can be credited to the finishing pitch breaking ball down and away.

“This year (Kmatz) has done a great job against left-handed hitters,” said Canham. “Sharping up his breaking ball, throwing a really tight cutter and his changeup looks great too. He’s also commanding up and done in the zone.”

Although Kmatz was not credited for the win, his dominance helped the team close out the win.

“Jacob was filthy. He pounded the zone, threw strikes, and let our defense work,” said Trosky. “Defense had a good game too, with zero errors. That was real impressive. He’s a bulldog and he competes every time he’s out there.”

OSU pitching has proved to be a real threat, with junior Aiden May and Kmatz pitching nearly lights out back-to-back nights.

“I’m very excited to see May and Kmatz back-to-back control their energy level and attack the zone,” said Canham. “They’re getting ahead and it’s leading to strikeouts.”

The deadly duo combined 24 strikeouts in 14.1 innings pitched in two games.

The starting pitching doesn’t deserve all the praise, as Holmes recorded his second save in back-to-back games and tenth of the season.

Holmes has a 1.14 ERA and is on the Stopper of the Year watchlist. His filthy slider recorded three strikeouts in the bottom of the 9th to seal the game.

“(Holmes) has been unbelievable,” said Hainline. “He had a couple rough outings during the last week or so, but you can tell he has a good mindset and it doesn’t really affect him.”

The Beavers look to break out the brooms tomorrow against the Ducks on April 28 at 2:05 p.m. at Goss Stadium.

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