Dwight Jaynes

Wade Baldwin may have an uphill battle for playing time this season with Trail Blazers

Wade Baldwin may have an uphill battle for playing time this season with Trail Blazers

OK, so now that we know Wade Baldwin is going to be on the roster of the Portland Trail Blazers this season, where does he fit?

Will he play? Will he be in the rotation? What will his role be?

For right now, I’m not sure those questions can be answered. Training camp and the exhibition season will certainly go a long way toward solving those issues.

But at this point, I’d say Baldwin might be in a tough spot.

The Trail Blazer backcourt is going to be as crowded as Interstate-5 North at rush hour, with some veteran players in line ahead of Baldwin.

If you’re thinking about him as the prime candidate to back up Damian Lillard at the point, you might be disappointed. Don’t forget that the Trail Blazers signed free agent Seth Curry and he’s come into his own as an NBA player. He's no longer just somebody's little brother.

While Curry has never been known as a distributor, he can certainly shoot the ball – perhaps Baldwin’s weakest area.

For his career, Curry has shot 47.3 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from three-point range. And yes, we’re talking about SETH Curry, not his brother STEPH.

Now I’m pretty sure Baldwin would have an edge over Curry at the defensive end of the court and may be a better playmaker. He's also the team's biggest and most physical point guard and is capable of playing at a very fast pace.  And one more thing in his favor -- he is a player Portland got for nothing who is quickly rebuilding his value as a one-time first-round pick. At some point, he could be a valuable trade piece.

That said, in today’s NBA, the game is becoming all about firepower –- and mostly long-range firepower. Curry can provide that to a team that needs an injection of accurate three-point shooting.

It’s also reasonable to expect rookie Anfernee Simons to get some playing time at one of the guard spots. Yes, he’s young but he’s a special player who needs to play if he’s not optioned to a G-League team.

Add in the projected off-guards on this squad – Nik Stauskas and Gary Trent Jr. – and you can see that Coach Terry Stotts has some decisions to make.

He has a crowd of interesting players at off-guard and could make a little more room for them on the court by using CJ McCollum as a backup point guard frequently.

Baldwin is going to be in the same position he’s been in for most of his career:

How much he plays will be up to him. And he’s probably going to have to play pretty well to earn a regular spot in the rotation.

 

 

Credit Blazer coaching staff with a great job this summer

Credit Blazer coaching staff with a great job this summer

Moving forward, I'm not sure we can draw any conclusions about how much value -- if any -- Portland's summer-league championship will bring to the franchise moving forward. But I can say one thing for sure: it's a great tribute to the Portland coaching staff.

For the second summer in a row, the Trail Blazers assembled a roster of players who came together at both ends of the court. This year's championship team dominated every team it played and offensive execution and defensive aggression were a big part of that. And that is coaching. Head coach Jim Moran does a great job with his teams but the credit doesn't stop there. The entire Trail Blazer coaching staff -- Nate Tibbetts, David Vanterpool, Dale Osbourne and John McCullough -- contributes to the summer-league effort and these guys get only three or four days to organize and coach their squad before its first game.

And somehow, they create a solid team in a very short amount of time that plays the game hard and plays it right.

And it must also be pointed out that Neil Olshey has provided his young players a great chance to learn and improve by surrounding them in summer league with unselfish journeymen veterans who know how to play. This season it was K.J. McDaniels, Archie Goodwin and John Jenkins -- solid vets playing to land a job in the NBA or overseas -- combining with experienced Portland players Jake Layman and Wade Baldwin IV to give the youngsters a chance to succeed.

Time to say a few things about individual players who suited up for Portland's summer unit:

  • Anfernee Simons -- Way better than I expected him to be. Not intimidated and very obviously talented.
  • Gary Trent Jr. -- A pro shooter. He knows where he wants to get his shots and how to get them.
  • Wade Baldwin IV -- A legit NBA player who continues to improve. He's defending people well enough to get them mentally off their game. Man, does he need help at the foul line, though.
  • Jake Layman -- If he can bring that offensive confidence and jump shot into training camp, he's going to get rotation minutes this season.
  • Caleb Swanigan -- I'm never sure of what to expect from him. He has NBA rebounding and passing skills but struggles when playing against size.
  • Zach Collins -- He's coming along fast as a defender but would love to see him be able to consistently make shots.

In summary, you can make whatever summer-league victory parade and championship-ring jokes you want, but winning is fun no matter where you do it. And very often a lot or work behind the scenes goes into the effort.

 

 

Summer League: If you win it, you can say it matters

Summer League: If you win it, you can say it matters

Some thoughts on the morning of the Trail Blazers' Summer League Championship game vs. the Lakers:

There's really only one reason why winning the summer league matters:
1 – If you win it, you can say it matters. And maybe then it does. You can use it to sell tickets for the upcoming season or just get your fan base geeked up about the future. And if you think I’m kidding, just think back to last year’s summer league when none other than Magic Johnson proclaimed, “The Lakers are back!” after his team beat the Trail Blazers in the championship game. Uh, back? Sure they were – back in the doldrums.

Conversely, there are plenty of reasons why winning summer league does NOT matter:
1 – Each team is a collection of players – many of them key contributors – who won’t even be on your team this season. 
2 – While you may care about winning, many of the other teams do not and they sit key players in tourney games just because they’ve played enough and nobody wants to risk injury. Beating those teams means nothing (such as the Blazers tournament game vs. Atlanta).
3 – Well, it just doesn’t matter, you know. No championship parades or rings, no bonuses, no big deal. Get over it. 
3 – Players do like to win. It’s akin to playground games where you want to keep winning to stay on the court. In summer league, you want to keep winning so you have more games to show scouts and front-office personnel you are good enough to play for their team. But that doesn’t mean front offices and coaches like to win.
4 – How many days in Las Vegas are too many? About the time the tournament starts is the time when people suffer from neon fatigue and get irritated by the strange noises those slot machines make.
5 – If it mattered, wouldn’t all the teams try to win?

OSU's Abel taking classes -- and taking it easy -- this summer in Corvallis

OSU's Abel taking classes -- and taking it easy -- this summer in Corvallis

HILLSBORO – The Hillsboro Hops honored Oregon State’s NCAA championship baseball team Monday night and Kevin Abel, the freshman right-hander who hurled a two-hit shutout in the title game, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

It bounced.

“That’s the first pitch I’ve thrown since the final game,” he said while signing hundreds of autographs with his teammates before and during Monday's game.

Abel is taking the summer off from competition, as is the custom for Oregon State pitchers while Beaver position players scatter around the country to play in various college summer leagues.

“Lift some weights, stay in shape and get a little bit ahead in school,” said Abel, who is taking summer classes in Corvallis.

The Beaver pitcher went the distance in the title game after a relief outing in the team’s previous game. And his coach, Pat Casey, has taken some criticism for using Abel that much.

Abel bristled at the suggestion Casey did anything wrong.

“I just appreciated him giving me the opportunity to do what I did,” Abel said. “I worked all season toward that. I know how to take care of myself. I was fine.”

Abel has done extensive training with Seattle’s Driveline, a sports-science, data-driven training program that is drawing rave reviews from pitchers and hitters, all the way from big-leaguers to Little Leaguers. He is continuing with that program this summer.

“I’ve been doing it since high school,” Abel said. “It’s helped me a lot. I’ve gained velocity and stamina.”

He does not plan to pitch again until fall baseball.

“I’ve been going since school started last year,” he said. “But I feel good."

How has his life changed since that championship game?

"A lot more followers on social media," he said. "My Instagram exploded."

 

Baldwin's dedication to playing the point paying dividends

Baldwin's dedication to playing the point paying dividends

Wade Baldwin is doing something I really didn't think he could do -- and it's probably doing as much to prove he has a role in the NBA as anything we've seen from him.

I knew he was explosive. Knew that while he isn't yet a big-time shooter, he is certainly a scorer. And we've all seen signs of his defensive promise.

But I had no idea he was going to come out in Summer League and show legitimate point-guard skills. In five games, he's averaged a league-leading 8.4 assists per game while turning the ball over only 1.6 times per game. His willingness to transform from scorer to playmaker also reflects a degree of understanding of what he needed to show in Las Vegas to prove (or improve) his NBA value.

In order to win a roster spot with the Trail Blazers, Baldwin was likely going to have to show that he could serve as a viable point guard option. He's done that, even though it often appears he could score at will in summer league with his ability to get to the basket.

Baldwin has continued to show growth as an all-around player. He's doing his thing as a point guard but still managing to shoot .536 from the field and .385 from three-point range. In two previous summer-league stints while a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, Baldwin shot .286 and .380 from the field and .000 and .333 from three-point territory.

Of course, we temper enthusiasm over those numbers from this summer by reminding ourselves again that this is SUMMER LEAGUE, where mediocre players -- particularly the ones with a couple of seasons in the NBA -- can often look like NBA all-stars. But Baldwin's consistency and patience with the way he's running the team are certainly admirable and promising.

And the big plus he will bring to the regular season is that even if his offensive ability goes off the tracks a little bit, his defense and aggressiveness are going to be there. And that's a very big plus.

He is going to be a very interesting player to keep an eye on this coming season.

Wade Baldwin can play, but will it be for the Trail Blazers?

Wade Baldwin can play, but will it be for the Trail Blazers?

First things first: When evaluating NBA players in summer league, it's advisable to take a deep breath and relax. Calm down. And, oh yes, remember Glen Rice Jr., Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones. They were the three MVPs of the Las Vegas Summer League prior to last season, when Lonzo Ball won the award. This is not to even mention Qyntel Woods, who was the MVP of Salt Lake City's Rocky Mountain Revue summer league in 2003 for the Trail Blazers and Jerryd Bayless, who was the MVP of the 2008 summer league while also in a Portland uniform.

In other words, the automatic caveat here is that summer league success is in no way a guarantee of NBA stardom.

So with that in mind, let's take a look at Portland's summer-league players of interest after wins in the Trail Blazers' first two games in Las Vegas.

WADE BALDWIN: Portland's all-around best player in the first two games, he's aggressive at both ends of the court. It's a trait that plays well in the NBA. He's unafraid and even pugnacious. I like a lot of what he does. A scorer in the Saturday game, Baldwin turned playmaker in the Sunday contest, getting 10 assists with just a single turnover. At times in this league it appears he can do just about whatever he wishes. He can play in the NBA, I believe he's proved that. How good can he be? Well, pretty good, I think -- if he can shoot the ball a little better from distance. He is explosive at the rim and has a nice floater in the lane but I think he's going to need to be a better long-range shooter to be a starter. But that could happen. His problem with the Trail Blazers is going to be, first, making the team and second, getting significant minutes in the crowded backcourt.I think if he caught on with a team that could use him in consistent minutes, there's a real chance he could turn into a very good player. That next-level aggressiveness is a legit NBA skill.

JAKE LAYMAN: Could this man be finally blossoming into the player many of us thought he could be? He has a lot of NBA tools, including great jumping ability, but his shooting has been inconsistent. I believe he's been one of those guys who  has had trouble bringing his abilities out on the floor during actual games. And certainly he's never gotten consistent playing time. But the confident Jake Layman -- and really, in his third season of summer league there's no reason not to be confident -- can be a rotation player. The Trail Blazers are quite obviously looking for shooters and Layman has the tools to fill that role. Consistency is the key,

ZACH COLLINS: He's coming along but I'm not sure the summer league is ever going to be his thing. Collins needs more offensive structure than he gets in these raggedy games. He'll get his blocked shots and his rebounds but points are usually going to be more difficult for him This is a guard's league. But when you block five shots in 20 minutes, as he did Sunday afternoon, you're going to get some attention. All things considered, he is probably still ahead of schedule in his development.

ANFERNEE SIMONS: Sunday he played 19 minutes and turned the ball over only once. And had three steals. It's easy to see why the Trail Blazers took him in this draft. He's full of potential and still looking as if he's never had any use for a shaving kit. I like his confidence on offense and his instincts. He isn't forcing anything and he's not backing off from anything, either. There is some serious promise here.

GARY TRENT JR.: No question he's a shooter. And no question he's not going to get cheated out of his shots, no matter who is on the court with him -- which is probably just fine. So far, he looks like an old-fashioned gunner, a player who comes off the bench firing from all angles. That can be just what the doctor ordered for this team or a big aggravation for teammates who are open for even better shots but don't get the necessary pass from him. We shall see.

CALEB SWANIGAN: So far -- and it's just two games -- I'm not seeing a lot of improvement from last year, when he was a dominant summer-league player. But when the real games started and the real players showed up, he struggled to find his way. Swanigan is a bit of a puzzle -- he plays hard, he can pass and he can rebound. He can even make threes once in a while. But so far, he cannot finish plays against size and can't seem to adjust to NBA quickness and length. One would assume this would be a season when he'd begin to claim consistent playing time off the bench but so far, that looks to me like a longshot.

Let me, too, add a few other comments on the summer league:

  • The Trail Blazers appear to be putting more emphasis on running the floor this summer. They are pushing the ball hard and picking up the pace. I hope it stays that way when the real team shows up in the fall. There is no reason that group can't play a more uptempo game than it has the past several seasons. I find nothing wrong with a few more easy fast-break points.
  • Somebody needs to step up and explain to the people training the young officials who work the summer-league games that they need to blow the whistle a little more often. These games get more physical every year and they are beginning to look dangerous. There is way too much contact. Some very expensive players have already been hurt and I see no reason to allow massive contact in a league where many of the players are not in complete control of their massive bodies and are on a do-or-die mission to make a team, which can translate into a level of aggression that can lead to serious injuries.

A third national title? OSU is a juggernaut bordering on dynasty

A third national title? OSU is a juggernaut bordering on dynasty

OMAHA – After those back-to-back NCAA baseball championships in 2006 and 2007 I suppose it should have been no surprise when Oregon State captured another one Thursday night.

But come on, how could it not be special?

The job the Beavers have done on a national stage since Pat Casey took over the program has been incredible.

Casey has built a machine, one with a foundation made of equal parts talent, belief, recruiting, facilities, hard work and player development.

This is a full-fledged national power, as close to a dynasty as can be built in today’s college athletics.

And I’ve said it from the start, as somebody who played baseball, coached it and has written about it now for more decades than I care to remember:

I’m still not sure how you convince blue-chip players from places like California, Arizona, Nevada and other sun-belt environs to play college baseball in the often cold and wet Pacific Northwest. And even more difficult, how do you talk blue-chip players from the cold and wet Pacific Northwest into staying here for college baseball instead of fleeing to the sunshine?

It’s crazy – a story nobody would believed a couple of decades ago when players from this region dared not even dream of a trip to Omaha for anything but a visit to the city’s renowned zoo.

Some thoughts on what I saw from the Beavers during the championship finals:

  • Truly great teams win even when bad things happen to them. The Beavers didn’t get the pitching from their Big Two they’ve become accustomed to getting. They won anyway. They got some tough calls and bad breaks, too.
  • A big part of Oregon State's success has been preparation. And that means detailed and accurate scouting reports, from what I've heard. Assistant Coach Pat Bailey has been responsible for a lot of those reports and I do know when I congratulated him after the game, he smiled, shook his head and said, "There was a lot of watching video tape."
  • But when presented with the biggest break of all – a foul popup that could have closed the door on them that dropped untouched amid a Bermuda Triangle of Arkansas players – they took the game and the series away from the Pigs.
  • They found a freshman pitcher who worked miracles for them. Kevin Abel was a mystery much of the season – a freshman with great stuff who was unable to harness it. But the coaching staff and his teammates stuck with him and helped him turn into the surprise story of the tournament.
  • All Abel did was pitch the first nine-inning, two-hit shutout in championship game history. And become the first pitcher to ever win four games at the CWS. And all the while doing it on short rest and in the first nine-inning stint of his life.
  • Abel looked like a baby-faced Greg Maddux against the Razorbacks. He lost his curve ball for a few innings and continued to dominate with just his well-placed fastball and devastating change up. And he even managed to get into a Maddux-like rhythm with the home plate umpire that got him a lot of borderline strike calls.
  • Either that or catcher Adley Rutschman was stealing those strikes with his pitch framing.
  • And don’t forget the man calling that bewildering mix of pitches that kept the high-powered  Arkansas offense off balance all night. OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie called a brilliant game from the dugout. And that’s a big part of it all.
  • And speaking of Rutschman – and who isn’t? – he owned this World Series from both sides of the plate and from behind it. The switch-hitting catcher had an on-base percentage over .500 and batting average over .400. I have every expectation that we’re going to see that Oregon State battery in the big leagues some day.
  • Trevor Larnach was terrific in the clutch in his quiet, unassuming way. What a stroke this kid has.
  • That keystone combination of Cadyn Grenier and Nick Madrigal was so fun to watch. Smart players with great hands are a necessity in the middle of the infield. I wish them luck in their professional careers and I’m not sure we’ll ever see the likes of a combo like that in Corvallis again.
  • That hamstring injury kept Steven Kwan out of most of the championship round but he was one of the best outfielders and lead-off hitters in the country. That his team won without him is testimony to its depth and resolve.'Veterans Michael Gretler and Jack Anderson were rock solid. Winning teams need solid veterans.

I don’t know what else to say about this bunch other than congratulations. Stories like theirs are the reason I got into this crazy business.

And why I’ve stayed in it.

 

Beavers were ready and Abel was able as OSU captures CWS title

Beavers were ready and Abel was able as OSU captures CWS title

OMAHA – A legitimate star was born Thursday night as the Oregon State Beavers captured their third College World Series championship with a 5-0 win over Arkansas.

 

Kevin Abel, a freshman who came of age during post-season play, baffled the Razorbacks with his assortment of pinpoint fastballs, curves and changeups as OSU completed its rally from a 0-1 deficit to capture the best-of-three series by winning the final two games.

 

Abel became the first pitcher ever to win four games at the CWS and held Arkansas to just two hits -- both in the third inning -- over nine shutout innings. He fanned 10 and walked two just 24 hours after throwing an inning of relief against the Hogs Wednesday night. He retired the final 20 batters he faced.

 

It was a spectacular performance by a pitcher who was not a member of the team's weekend starting rotation for most of the season.

 

The Beavers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Cadyn Grenier was hit by a pitch with one out in the first and moved to third on Trevor Larnach’s single to right field.

 

Adley Rutschman bounced a single into left to plate Grenier and Larnach scored on an infield error to give OSU a 2-0 lead after just one inning.

 

The Hogs got a leadoff double and a wak in the top o the third, followed by an infield hit to load the bases. But Abel wriggled out of trouble in the meat of the Arkansas order with a strikeout and a line out to right.

 

Rutschman singled to drive in another run in the third, his 16th hit of the CWS . a single-series record. That made the score 3-0 and left runners at first and second with nobody out.

 

But with a chance to break the game open the Beavers left two runners stranded.

 

Rutschman blooped a single into left-center field with one out in the fifth, his 17th CWS hit and Tyler Malone followed with a walk.  With Michael Gretler batting, a wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third.

 

Gretler hit a sacrifice fly to right to hike the lead to 4-0. The Beavers would tack on one more run and Abel would finish the game, handing OSU the College World Series Title. 

 

 

 

 

IN OMAHA: Who will pitch for Beavers tonight? Maybe everybody

IN OMAHA: Who will pitch for Beavers tonight? Maybe everybody

OMAHA -- Oregon State needed to just about empty the bullpen to get all the way to tonight's winner-take-all College World Series game against Arkansas and the obvious question is, "Who will pitch tonight?"

OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie was asked that question amid the din of the Beaver locker room after Wednesday night's miraculous 5-3 comeback win over the Razorbacks. And while the starting pitcher is important, it hasn't been about the OSU starting pitching here. It's been about the relief corps.

"We're going to let this one sink in a little bit and then we will look at our options before we make a decision," Yeskie said. "Try to look at things objectively. I don't think any one person is going to do it by himself. We haven't been particularly good on the front end but the guys on the back end have picked us up. Particularly the 'gap' guys. We have confidence in all of our guys. They are all capable of getting outs. They can all make pitches."

The Beavers are probably going to have to use a lot of arms to get through the deep Arkansas lineup in the title game. Only the two pitchers -- Brandon Eisert and Bryce Fehmel -- who were used extensively in Game 2 will be spared from bullpen duty, most likely. Head coach Pat Casey was asked which of his pitchers would NOT be available.

"Probably Eisert and probably Fehmel," Casey said. "Fehmel threw 50 pitches, I guess. I don't know. Eisert threw more than that. And if you threw a guy out there that had thrown -- depends on the kid, too. If a kid says, 'Hey, I'm sore, I'm whatever...' I think it's all hands on deck right now for anybody that... I watched the World Series and I see Randy Johnson going down (to the bullpen) after two-day start to close, to win a championship. People do things. Now, we're never going to put someone in a position that is detrimental to them, that's for sure."

There has been some chatter about trying to get a few more innings out of Kevin Abel, the OSU freshman who has already tied a CWS record with three wins. He has been the most effective OSU starter by far. Christian Chamberlain provided terrific pitching in relief during Game 1 and Yeskie said he added more than just what the box score showed.

"He walked some guys and punched out some guys," Yeskie said. "But he also gave us some insight on how we'd like to attack certain hitters. But at the end of the day, you've got to make pitches."

The Beavers got to the championship game in one of the most dramatic finishes I've seen in many decades of watching and covering baseball -- and just about every other sport.

Down to the last out and to the last strike --- and to gain new life from a pop fly that dropped untouched but should have been caught to end the game and the season -- and come back to win? Well, when it happened, Jack Buck's excited voice rattled around in my head so forcefully that I spoke it out loud in the same stunned manner the legendary sportscaster used when describing Kirk Gibson's game-winning homer in the World Series off Dennis Eckersley in 1988:

"...And I don't believe... what I just saw!" ... And the man sitting beside me quickly added another famous Buck line, "... And we'll see you tomorrow!"

Yes, the Beavers got a huge break when that popup fell harmlessly to the ground. But the point is, they took advantage of it. They got that two-out, two-strike single from Cadyn Grenier. They got that laser-beam home run from Trevor Larnach. They got that save from Jake Mulholland.

And they lived to play another day.

I can't wait.

 

 

Beavers pull off a miracle finish to stay alive at CWS

Beavers pull off a miracle finish to stay alive at CWS

OMAHA –  Oregon State, barely breathing and down to its last strike, finally got a break Tuesday night. And it was a monster one that led to the Beavers pulling out  5-3 win to stay alive in its College World Series quest for a national championship.

Cadyn Grenier, with two outs and the tying run at third base in the top of the ninth inning, hit a foul popup down the right field line. How many Razorbacks does it take to catch a foul popup with a national championshp on the line?

Well, at least four, I guess. The ball fell untouched and Grenier lashed a two-out, two-strike single into left field to tie a game that appeared lost.

The next batter, Trevor Larnach, boomed a line-drive, two-run homer into the right-field bullpen to give the Beavers a 5-3 lead.

Freshman Kevin Able, who struck out the side in the eighth in relief, allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth and gave way to Jake Mulholland. He finished it up with a strikeout and a double play.

BOOM -- series tied heading into a winner-take-all contest Thursday night.

It looked all evening as if Oregon State was just going to squander every chance it had to score. The Beavers had managed a total of only three runs in two games and Wednesday night was on its way to dropping its second straight game, and the College World Series, to the Arkansas Razorbacks – this time by a score of 3-2.

The Beavers squandered opportunities, including a bases-loaded situation with the heart of the order at the plate, a botched squeeze-play attempt and a runner at third with one out.

Oregon State got the lead-off man on in the eighth on Adley Rutschman’s single, sacrificed him to second and he moved to third on a passed ball but Arkansas lefty Matt Cronin came out of the bullpen to whiff Tyler Malone, who battled through an eight-pitch at bat. He then disposed of pinch-hitting Steven Kwan on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.

Then in the ninth, Zak Taylor worked Cronin for a walk on a 3-2 pitch and gave way to pinch-runner Zack Clayton. Andy Armstrong bunted him to second for Nick Madrigal -- the Beavers No. 4 pick in the recent MLB draft. Best spot for the best hitter, right? Madrigal grounded weakly to first for the second out of the inning and Cadyn Grenier hit a popup in foul territory that dropped untouched between three players.

New life, right? Well, YES -- and you know the rest of the story.

The Hogs got on the scoreboard with a run in the second inning on a single, hit batter and two walks, the latter with the bases loaded.

The Beavers had hit the ball hard in the first inning. Nick Madrigal and Cadyn Grenier flew out deep to straightaway center field and then Trevor Larnach and Rutschman belted line-drive singles. But Michael Gretler struck out to end the inning.

OSU starter Bryce Fehmel walked the lead-off batter in the third and was removed in favor of Brandon Eisert, who struck out the side in that inning and pitched very well through the seventh,

Rutschman got the Beavers even in the top of the fourth when he lined a 1-0 pitch into the Arkansas bullpen for a solo home run.

In the top of the fifth, Zak Taylor grounded a single into left field and Preston Jones, starting in place of injured Steven Kwan, to set the Beavers up with runners at first and second with one out.

That was the end of Razorback starter Kacey Murphy, who gave way to right-hander Jake Reindl.

Madrigal worked him for a four-pitch walk to load the bases for Grenier, who bunted for a base hit to drove in the go-ahead run.

With the bases still loaded, Larnach took a first-pitch ball before another pitching change brought in right-hander Kole Ramage from the Hog bullpen.

Larnach then struck out to bring Rutschman to the plate.

The Beaver catcher rolled an easy grounder to first to end the inning and OSU got only one run out of the inning. At that point, they’d outhit Arkansas 7-1 and led only 2-1.

And Oregon State fell victim to some bad luck in the bottom of that inning as two bloops fell in front of Beaver outfielders, leading to the game’s tying run.

Carson Shaddy then smacked a two-out single into left field and the Razorbacks had the lead back.

In the sixth, the Beavers had runners at the corners with none out but chose to squeeze again – but pinch-hitter Jack Anderson popped the bunt into a double-play and OSU went scoreless in the frame.