EUGENE- Oregon State quieted any idea that Oregon would even the Civil War series from the jump in front of 4,130 at PK Park. The 8-5 victory got the Beavers one step closer to clinching a regular season Pac-12 championship, taking over sole possession of first place and securing a top-eight seed that would solidify regional home field advantage.
The Beavers (33-14-1, 19-4 Pac-12) got off to an early 3-0 start in a first inning that featured four walks, three hits and 38 pitches. OSU never lost the lead.
"The early lead was critical," said OSU interim coach Pat Bailey. "Teams that put up runs early, especially three run leads, right off the bat, it's going to make a difference in terms of the outcome of the game. And it did, we ended up winning by three runs."
Oregon right fielder Tanner Smith answered with a homerun bomb hit over right-center to make it 3-1. However, Oregon struggled mightily at the plate against OSU right-handed pitcher Dylan Pearce. Through five innings, Oregon’s first three batters (Sam Novitske, Smith and Spencer Steer) were the only Ducks to record hits off of Pearce.
Pearce brought the heat in his first career Pac-12 start, holding the Ducks to seven hits and four runs with five strikeouts and three walks through five innings. The devoted Oregon State fans gave him a standing ovation when Jake Pfennigs came in for relief in the sixth inning. The Ducks threatened in the sixth inning, getting two on base with zero outs but Pfennigs and escaped the inning only giving up one run.
Within three innings, every Oregon State player in the lineup reached base on either a hit or a walk against Oregon’s pitcher Cullen Kafka. Right fielder Tyler Malone led the Beavers offensively; driving in three runs. Shortstop Beau Phillip also had a great day at bat with three hits. Adley Rutschman was intentionally walked four times.
Oregon State left a season high 14 runners on base but with two outs the Beavers were clutch; scoring two runs and batting .231 (3-13) when they needed it most. In comparison, the Ducks hit 0-9 with two outs.
The Beavers’ defense remained stout, making zero errors.
OSU looks to sweep the series on Sunday at noon at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon.