Beaver Baseball continues dominant season, extends win streak to 23 games

Beaver Baseball continues dominant season, extends win streak to 23 games

Mitchell Monge, Multimedia Contributor

Sun, rain, wind, hail and a 16-inning game made for an exciting weekend for Oregon State Baseball.

Ranked No. 1 in the nation, the Beavers capped off the weekend series with a 5-1 win over Utah Sunday afternoon. Starting pitcher Jake Thompson threw 8 1/3 innings of one-hit ball, while Cadyn Grenier and KJ Harrison both added home runs this past Sunday.

After allowing a run in the third inning—his only in the game—Thompson received a nice offensive boost on a three-run blast to left field courtesy of Grenier.

“It was a fastball and he threw it in a good spot for me,” Grenier recalled. “As soon as I hit it, I knew—I was pretty pumped about it.”

After that home run, Grenier now leads the team in that department with four, as well as in RBIs (21) and triples (four). With his recent offensive success, head coach Pat Casey slated the second baseman to bat third in the order Sunday—not his normal spot.

“Grenier’s been hot,” Casey said. “(Trevor) Larnach was not having a great series, so I thought it was a good day to sit him down. Now, all of a sudden, you’re looking at ‘who do you put in the middle of the order?’ So I thought ‘Let’s put Grenier in the three-hole, and he came up with a big home run.’”

The offensive boost gave Thompson all the run support he needed. Casey had a limited bullpen to work with after a 16-inning marathon Saturday afternoon, and hoped to get quality innings out of Thompson.

After the run in the third inning, the junior right-hander coasted the rest of the way, allowing only one hit the entire game.

“Jake was fabulous,” Casey said. “We didn’t have anybody on the left-hand side that has been pitching normally, with Engelbrekt, Eisert and Mulholland not available, so we were hoping we’d get a strong seven out of him, and we got a good, strong eight and a third.”

Thompson struck out seven Utah batters en route to his conference-leading seventh win of the season.

“I knew I had to go deep, and continue to fill up the zone, and just trust my stuff,” Thompson said.

While quality pitching provided the bullpen some much-needed rest, many position players were on the field all 34 innings this weekend, including Grenier.

“I’ll be honest, my body today is tired,” Grenier admitted. “I’ve never played 16 innings before, and when you’re playing every inning of those 16, it takes a toll.”

Even through exhaustion, Grenier and shortstop Nick Madrigal continued to provide stellar defense. On the last out of the game, Madrigal made a running over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field, which prompted the crowd to erupt in cheers.

“There might not be two shortstops in the country that go get that ball,” Casey said with a smile.

The Beavers look to extend their winning streak tomorrow with a home game against Gonzaga. First pitch is set for 5:35 p.m. in Goss Stadium.

On Twitter @MitchMonge55