How Oregon State won: Under the Friday night lights at Goss Stadium, the No. 1 Oregon State Beavers took care of business on their home turf but this time under different circumstances. The Beavers, with their outright 49-4 season record, earned the hosting spot of the NCAA Corvallis Regionals. Lead on the mound by redshirt junior pitcher Jake Thompson with 10 strikeouts and on the plate from All-PAC-12 team sophomore short stop Cadyn Grenier going 2-for-2 on a double and an RBI sacrifice fly, the Beavers cruised to a 8-2 Corvallis Regionals round one victory over Holy Cross and will advance to the winners bracket in this double-elimination style tournament.
"I think that first game is always tough for everybody," said Oregon State head coach Pat Casey following the game. "Seems like we've had a lot of tight games, Holy Cross played very well. I thought we did some things well, I thought we could've done some things better. I thought Jake [Thompson] was real good. Obviously early in the game when we tried to get on the board, we didn't get that done, but Jake kept us there and we stayed with it and were able to get on the board. So, like I said, I'm always excited to get out of the first game, it's a tough one."
With this win, Oregon State earns its 50th win of the season and currently is sitting on a 17-game win streak.
What it means: Oregon State now faces Yale (33-16), who defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers earlier in the day 5-1, in game two of the NCAA Corvallis Regionals.
"Nebraska is a good team, I thought Yale was really aggressive, thought they were confident," said Casey. "Their pitcher was really good. He flipped sides of the plate pretty good, was able to subtract whenever he wanted to. I look around the country and I see all the time people that may not get recognition or maybe playing well at the right time, I just think that coaches do a really good job of getting their guys to believe that 'this is what it's all about.'"
Oregon State pitching: Redshirt junior Jake Thompson regained his confidence from last week's four earned-run game vs. Abilene Christian. Thompson bounced back huge for the Beavers with back-to-back innings ending in looking-strikeouts to prevent Oregon State from deep trouble. In both the fifth and sixth innings, as Holy Cross was threatening with runners in scoring positions, Thompson showed no fear and why he is 12-0 on the season so far. Thompson finished allowing one runs, one earned run, four hits, three walks, 10 strikeouts, and moves onto 13-0 as a starter. Thompson's night finished after seven and two-thirds innings pitched and relieved by freshman Jake Mulholland.
Oregon State defense: The top of the fifth inning presented some trouble for the Beavers defense. With Holy Cross runners on first and second, Crusaders freshman stepped up to the plate a drilled a single, RBI out to left field bringing one runner home. The throw from Beavers junior left fielder Christian Donahue slipped wide right of the catcher. The throwing error allowed the Crusaders to put two in scoring position on second and third. But that added pressure did not fault Thompson on the mound and calmly struck out the next Crusader looking. The Beavers finished with two total team errors.
Oregon State offense: The Beavers started the game not quite the same way they finished: both in the first and second innings, Oregon State struggled to bring runners home in scoring positions and hit its way into two double-play groundouts to end both innings. But the numbers say it all for Oregon State and just how much depth the Beavers have this season. A total of eight runs on 13 hits with seven RBI's is how a No. 1 nationally ranked team should represent. Those seven RBI's came from seven different Beavers displaying their depth and talent at any spot in the lineup.
"It's just one of those things where, you know, like coach Casey said, 'every single one of us comes to the field every single day from September 'til now and just works our butts off,' said Grenier. "It doesn't matter if your starter or if you're a pinch hit guy... then bench guys prepare just like the starters if not even harder. To be able to put together a lineup one through nine that is equal to anybody in the country or probably better than any other one through nine, but even the bench guys are phenomenal and they don't get down for not playing so they're ready to come in. I think that's why we've had such a good year so far is that it's not just one or two guys contributing all the RBI's and the hits and whatnot, it's the entire lineup..."
Up next: Oregon State (50-4) will face Yale (33-16), who defeated Nebraska 5-1 in the earlier Corvallis regional game, at 7 PM on Saturday, June 3rd at Goss Stadium.