Top-Ranked Beavers Sweep Series

By any measure, what Oregon State head coach Pat Casey has put together in Corvallis is nothing less than remarkable. In a region not widely recognized as a hot bed of talent, for more than a decade now Casey and the Beavers have been in the top tier of programs nationally and more often than not had their way with their neighbors to the south.

The 2017 version of the Civil War was – in the words of David Byrne – same as it ever was.

Since reinstating the program in 2009 the Ducks are 9-18 in conference play and 16-27 overall against Oregon State and in four of those seasons have been swept in the conference series.

Adding a touch of salt to that wound is after Friday’s 5-4 loss, the home nine watched as Oregon State celebrated a Pac-12 championship and Casey’s 1000th win as a head coach.

Thursday’s game one got away from the Ducks on a pair of fourth inning home runs. Each side plated a run in the fifth, Oregon’s run courtesy a hit batter with the bases loaded. Oregon State added two insurance runs in the 8th for a 6-1 final score.

Luke Heimlich picked up the win to improve to 8-1 on the year with Oregon’s Cole Stringer (4-2) getting tagged for the loss, giving up five hits and two runs in four innings of work.

A rain out at Washington State the previous weekend forced Oregon head coach George Horton to push back by one day the start of his ace David Peterson who took the mound hoping to delay the Beavers’ celebration for at least one more day.

A first inning throwing error gave Oregon an early 1-0 lead, but the Beaver offense touched Peterson for a run in both the second and third frames thanks in large part to a throwing error and a failed pickoff attempt.

A wild pitch and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth put the Ducks back in the lead 3-2, but the Beavers got to Peterson in a big way to open the fifth.

A pair of walks set the stage and Steven Kwan laced a double into right center, driving in two. One out later, Kwan scored on a sacrifice fly to center to take the lead 5-3

The Ducks added a run in the eighth and loaded the bases in the ninth but were unable to get Peterson off the hook for the loss, dropping his record to 10-3.

Saturday’s curtain call was a pitching duel between Oregon’s Matt Mercer and Oregon State’s Jake Thompson.

While Thompson held the Oregon bats at bay, allowing just three hits and striking out five, Mercer was pitching from the stretch most of the night, giving up eight hits and walking four.

The winning run came in the fourth. A walk, a stolen base and a single up the middle was all Thompson would need to run his record to 11-0 on the year.

Any hopes Oregon held for post season play likely vanished in the sweep, while the Beavers are poised to be the number one seed in the NCAA College World Series.

The Ducks will host Loyola Marymount in a non-conference match-up beginning at 6:00 pm on Wednesday before traveling to USC for a weekend series with the Trojans. Oregon will conclude its regular season facing the UCLA Bruins at PK Park on Thursday May 25th at 6:00 pm.

~Rick Morgan