Following an ill-fated outing in their first contest in the Pacific Northwest, the Diamond Dogs retook the field in Portland on Saturday afternoon to tangle once again with the two-time defending national champion Oregon State Beavers, hoping to snap their losing streak of either three or four games, depending upon whether one chose to count Wednesday afternoon’s exhibition against the Atlanta Braves.
After yet another rain delay, the Beavers, who benefited from having the better bullpen on Friday night, sent Jorge Reyes to the mound in the top of the first stanza to face Ryan Peisel. The Georgia third baseman drew a walk and took second base when Michael Demperio turned the first pitch he saw into a bunt single. The bases were loaded when Gordon Beckham recorded a base hit, as well.
Subsequent singles by Rich Poythress and Joey Lewis plated a pair of runs and a wild pitch scored one more before Matt Olson stared at a called third strike. A base hit by Bryce Massanari scored Poythress and an ensuing base hit by Lyle Allen scored Lewis. A sacrifice bunt by Matt Cerione advanced both remaining Bulldog baserunners, each of whom crossed home plate safely when Peisel singled to left field.
After Demperio drew a base on balls, Reyes was yanked in favor of Kraig Sitton, who coaxed a flyout from Beckham to conclude a seven-run, seven-hit inning for the visitors. The Beavers had no retort in the bottom of the frame, as a Chris Hopkins groundout, a Joey Wong strikeout, and a Jason Ogata flyout were all Oregon State had to show for its efforts.
Oregon State designated hitter Jason Ogata went one for four at the plate, in addition to his being the namesake of a series of movies that got really bad after John Denver left the franchise.
There were fewer fireworks in the second inning, as the Red and Black were retired in sequence on a flyout, a groundout, and a strikeout in the top of the frame. After Jordan Lennerton flied out to lead off the bottom of the canto, consecutive singles by Daniel Robertson and John Wallace put a runner in scoring position for Garrett Nash. After the Beaver baserunners successfully executed a double-steal, a sacrifice fly by the O.S.U. third baseman scored Robertson. An ensuing groundout by Ryan Ortiz prevented an additional assault against the visitors’ lead.
The top of the third inning largely was uneventful, as Massanari reached on a throwing error, only to be stranded at first base by an Allen pop-up, a Cerione flyout, and a Peisel strikeout. The Beavers went three up and three down in the bottom of the stanza.
Demperio led off the top of the fourth frame with a single to left field, but the Georgia second baseman was cut down when Beckham hit into a fielder’s choice. A Poythress single moved the Bulldog shortstop to second and both Red and Black baserunners stole the ensuing base when Lewis went down swinging. Two runs scored when Olson singled through the right side.
Although Massanari popped up to end the inning, the Classic City Canines had taken a 9-1 lead in their three-hit, two-run turn at bat. Ogata flied out to begin the bottom of the canto, but Lennerton singled up the middle, so, after Robertson grounded out, Wallace was able to cut the deficit to 9-3 with a home run to right field. Nash followed that up with a base hit, but the O.S.U. third baseman was picked off at first to end the inning.
The Beavers’ Garrett Nash went three for three and batted in two runs, which isn’t bad for an automobile from the mid-1950s.
The Diamond Dogs went in order in the top of the fifth frame, as did the home team in the bottom half of the stanza. Bryce Mooney was brought on to pitch the top of the sixth canto for Oregon State and he began by getting Demperio to ground out to short. Although the Beaver reliever went on to strike out Beckham, the Georgia shortstop reached first on a wild pitch and took third on a Poythress single up the middle.
Lewis’s ensuing sacrifice fly scored Beckham, but, despite Olson’s subsequent base hit to left field, a Massanari strikeout prevented the Red and Black from adding more than one run to their existing lead. The Beavers began chipping away at the visitors’ advantage in the bottom of the inning, when Wong led off with a base hit and took second on a wild pitch.
Ogata singled through the left side to plate the Oregon State shortstop. Lennerton hit into a fielder’s choice that sent the lead runner back to the dugout before Robertson sent the first pitch thrown his way up the middle to put a runner in scoring position. Following a Wallace strikeout, Nash also put the first pitch he saw into play for the base hit that scored the Beaver first baseman. Ortiz hit into the fielder’s choice that ended the inning, but not before Oregon State’s four-hit performance had tacked on a pair of runs.
Adam Fuller walked on four straight pitches to begin the top of the seventh stanza and a sacrifice bunt by Cerione moved the Georgia pinch hitter to second base. Peisel also walked on four straight pitches, prompting the pitching change that produced a Demperio lineout on which Fuller was out, as well. Three consecutive Beavers struck out in sequence in the bottom of the frame.
Could the Diamond Dogs actually be looking at a happy ending here? (Image from Animation, USA.)
The first two Georgia batters in the top of the eighth inning recorded outs, but Jake Crane fouled off a pair of pitches before drawing a walk. This went for naught when Olson grounded out to bring the home team back up to bat. The first two Beavers to stand in the batter’s box in the bottom of the frame flied out to left field, but Robertson drew a walk to give Oregon State a baserunner. The Beaver outfielder’s time there was not long-lived, though, as Rob Folsom fouled out when attempting to bunt the first pitch thrown his way.
The Bulldogs did not produce a baserunner in the top of the ninth inning, so Oregon State returned to the plate trailing 12-9 in hits and 10-5 in runs. The Red and Black sent Joshua Fields into the game to shut the door on the Beavers, but the Georgia closer got off on the wrong foot by surrendering a leadoff double to Nash on a payoff pitch.
Fields proceeded to persuade Michael Miller to strike out swinging and Logan Boyd to strike out looking before convincing Brett Casey to chase strike three, as well. The Oregon State third baseman remained stranded on second base, as none of his teammates succeeded even in putting the ball into play against one of the most dominant closers in the college game.
The Diamond Dogs needed this one. With the victory, the Red and Black put themselves in a position to win the series on Sunday and even their record at 3-3, which wouldn’t be doing too badly, considering the caliber of the competition the Classic City Canines have faced. For the first time since the season’s first outing, Georgia appeared for all nine innings to be a team that can contend throughout the season.