The Oregon State baseball team may not have had the dominant effort they would have liked on Saturday, but the Beavers still managed to overcome UC Santa Barbara by a score of 3-2, sending them to the Corvallis Regional Championship Game. Tied up at two in the top of the ninth, Danny Hayes drew a walk with the bases loaded that gave the Beavers enough to get past the threatening Gauchos.
The inning was started off by Andy Peterson, who laid down a bunt that managed to stay fair, as three UC Santa Barbara players surrounded the ball but could not see it foul. Michael Conforto would be the next Beaver to reach base, as he was hit by a pitch to move Peterson to second and give Oregon State runners at first and second with one down. Ryan Barnes then saw the bases loaded for the Beavers, drawing a walk. And though Hayes would see himself to a quick 0-2 count, he fought back in his at-bat and worked a 3-2 count before securing a walk on a pitch that found its way to the backstop.
The game relatively played out the way it started, with both teams staying close to one another throughout the contest before an exciting conclusion in the ninth.
Barnes quickly got things started for the host team, launching a solo home run in the second to give the Beavers a 1-0 advantage early on.
Their lead would quickly be diminished, however, as the Gauchos struck for a run in the second and third innings, giving them a 2-1 edge that would be sustained for the next few innings.
Both teams locked in a fierce competition, starting pitchers Andrew Moore and Justine Jacome were very impressive on the hill. Moore, getting the start for Oregon State, surrendered those two runs in the second and third innings but that would be all the Gauchos would manage, as he finished the game after pitching a strong eight innings while only giving up five hits and two walks that were complimented by six strikeouts.
Jacome, just a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, would finish the game after 6 1/3 strong innings, surrendering eight hits and two runs while striking out four. The second run he gave up would come in the sixth, as Barnes drove in another run with an RBI single to right center.
The game would then remain locked despite both teams having opportunities to plate runs. UCSB almost managed to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth, but Oregon State managed to escape a second and third jam without surrendering another run.The Beavers, meanwhile, loaded the bases in the seventh with one out but couldn’t push a run across after Greg Mahle came in and ended the inning on the hill.
Still deadlocked in the ninth, the Beavers would push their go-ahead run across in the top of the inning before Max Engelbrekt came in and recorded his fifth save of the year after pitching a perfect frame that saw him record one strikeout.
Oregon State will now wait for the result of the noon game, a contest that will pit the Gauchos against Texas A&M. The Corvallis Regional Championship game will follow afterwards at 5pm and can be seen on ESPN3.com.