Beavers finish second in Pac-12

OSU junior pitcher Bryce Fehmel held UCLA to only three hits as the Beavers went on to win the game 4-1 on Friday, May 25.

Jarred Bierbrauer, Sports Contributor

The Oregon State University Beavers were able to end their 2018 regular season with a series win over the UCLA Bruins before they head into the Corvallis Regionals this week to take on Northwestern State.

In the series against UCLA, the Beavers were not only looking to end the season on a positive note, but were also in a race against Stanford for the collegiate baseball Pac-12 Championship.

For game one, OSU was able to shut out UCLA as senior pitcher Luke Heimlich had 10 strikeouts, which was enough to hold the Bruins down for a 2-0 OSU win.

The Beavers only runs of the game were from the second inning, when sophomore infielder Tyler Malone hit an RBI single to right field. Later in the inning, junior outfielder Trevor Larnach was able to run home from third after senior outfielder Jack Anderson drove the ball through center field.

Heimlich’s 10 strikeouts on the day were enough for him to pass Jonah Nickerson for the most strikeouts in a single season in OSU history. Nickerson’s record 131 strikeouts in 2006 was eclipsed when Heimlich reached 139 by the end of the ninth inning on Friday.

On the following day, the Beavers prepared to take on UCLA for game two of the series. Prior to the match, Michael Gretler, Luke Heimlich, Kyle Nobach and Jack Anderson were all joined by their families as they celebrated senior night at Goss Stadium on Coleman Field.

Junior pitcher Bryce Fehmel was able to contain the Bruins to just three hits and one run in the 6 ⅓ innings that he pitched. Fehmel had a 2.71 ERA going into Friday’s game, as well as five strikeouts on 107 pitches.

The Beavers’ first run came in the sixth inning when Malone grounded to UCLA pitcher Garrett Barker with one down and the bases loaded, allowing the Beavers to score an early run.

Later in the inning, senior outfielder Nobach stepped up to the plate, only to drive a three-run home run over the left wall in front of his entire family. Nobach’s three-run RBI had set the Beavers up 4-1, which became the final score of the game.

“It was an incredible feeling, my whole family was here,” Nobach said. “Them being able to watch us play and on senior day it was everything, it was awesome man.”

Having won the series, OSU head coach Pat Casey reflected on the games importance on the way to the College World Series.

“We think that if we win the series, we should be a national seed,” Casey said. “That’s how important it is for us to win the first two games.”

Things took a turn on Saturday for game three of the series, as the Beavers were looking to sweep the Bruins and hoping for a Stanford loss against Washington to earn themselves a Pac-12 Championship.

UCLA started things off quickly when sophomore Ryan Kreidler of the Bruins sent a two-run single to left field for a two-run RBI. The Beavers answered back in the sixth inning, when junior infielder Zak Taylor was able to score on a wild pitch, getting OSU on the board at 3-1.

The Bruins wouldn’t budge however, as UCLA sophomore Jeremy Ydens sent one over the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth. No other Beaver would touch home-plate for the rest of the game as the Bruins defense tightened.

Senior infielder Michael Gretler was short of words about the team’s performance.

“I think the offense just never got going,” Gretler said. “We swung it well you know, hit some balls hard, but we got to do a better job.”

At the end of the regular season, the Beavers finished second in the Pac-12 Conference and have been placed as the No. 1 seed in the Corvallis Regionals for the College World Series.The regionals will start June 1, and will have two games played per day until June 4.

The Beavers will be taking on Northwestern State in the second game on June 1, at 7:30 p.m.