OSU outlasts Washington State

April 21, 2001

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State rallied from four-run deficits twice to beat Washington State 10-9 in Pacific-10 baseball Saturday afternoon at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Chris Biles' two-run homer in the sixth inning gave the Beavers (24-16 overall, 7-7 Pacific-10) their first lead, Biles also had a two-run double in the third to cap OSU's first rally. Oregon State has won three straight games and 16 of its last 24.

OSU clinched the series win with the victory, as Oregon State had won Friday's opener 14-5. The Beavers and Cougars (14-26, 5-9) conclude their series Sunday at noon, the game can be heard on KLOO-AM (1340) and will be televised via tape delay Monday at 7 p.m on Fox Sports Net.

On Saturday, Oregon State pitcher Scott Nicholson and the Beaver lineup took turns giving each other a lift. When Nicholson uncharacteristically gave up four runs in both the second and fourth innings, OSU's hitters immediately responded with runs of their own to keep the game close, the senior lefthander then didn't allow a run in the fifth through eighth innings to give the Beavers a chance to take control.

'The biggest thing is, it's getting later in the season and the playoffs are getting here, and everybody believes we can be in a regional,' said Nicholson, who threw his seventh complete game of the season to improve his record to 8-2. 'Early in the season, it was harder for guys to pick each other up. Our goal, from the beginning of the season, was to be in a regional but we got off to a mediocre start and some guys weren't sure they believed.

'Now, these two games (Friday and Saturday) have been huge for us coming back off being swept at (No. 1-ranked) Stanford, getting some confidence back. That's why we've got so many guys picking each other up.'

OSU trailed 4-0 going into the bottom of the second inning, but eventually tied the game 4-4 on Biles' two-run double in the bottom of the third. The Cougars' Stefan Bailie hit a three-run homer to cap a four-run fourth inning and make it 8-4, but the Beavers picked up two runs in the bottom of the inning, a run in the fifth, and finally took the lead at 9-8 on Biles' two-out, two-run homer to left-centerfield in the sixth.

'I finally started to hit the ball at home,' said Biles, who bumped his batting average to .381 and homered for the seventh time this season. 'I felt like I was seeing the ball well. I've made some adjustments at the plate and I finally hit some balls hard at home.'

Nicholson then allowed just one run on three hits over the final five innings and OSU increased its lead to 10-8 on Brian Barden's two-out run-scoring single in the seventh. The Cougars picked up a run in the ninth on Tyson Boston's two-out RBI single but never advanced the tying run into scoring position.

'Scott didn't have his best stuff but fortunately we scored enough runs to keep him in the game,' said Biles, who matched his career high with four runs batted in. 'We knew he'd go nine innings if we scored some runs for him. Any time you can get him a lead, you're comfortable that he's going to be around the strike zone.'

The Beavers committed some early errors, leading to a pair of unearned runs, but also produced some defensive gems that kept the Cougars from scoring more runs.

Centerfielder Eric Stark crashed into the fence making a third-inning catch that robbed Bailie of an extra-base hit, the next two Cougar hitters singled but WSU went scoreless in the inning.

In the seventh, catcher Bryan Ingram sprinted up the first baseline to back up a play on which shortstop Will Hudson made a wild throw after fielding Tyson Boston's grounder, Ingram quickly grabbed the ball and threw Boston out as he tried to advance to second.

In the eighth inning, Nicholson hustled to cover first base, enabling the Beavers to complete a first baseman Andy Jarvis-to-shortstop Will Hudson-to-pitcher Nicholson double play. Later in the frame, rightfielder Josh Carter made a diving catch of Mike Knight's line drive to end the inning with a runner on base.

'When we didn't play well, I thought we did some little things that helped keep us in the game,' said OSU coach Pat Casey, who had picked up his 200th win at the school on Friday. 'Ingram backing up first base was a tremendous play, Eric Stark made a great catch .... there were a lot of little things that kept us in the game when we weren't outstanding, and then we found a way to win.

'Scott stayed focused when we didn't defend well, and Washington State is a very good club, offensively.'

The Cougars, who entered the game batting .324 as a team in Pacific-10 games, came up with 14 hits against Nicholson, he walked four and struck out five. OSU, meanwhile, had 15 hits against WSU starter Zach Fisher and relievers Lanakila Niles and Garrett Alwert.

Barden tied his career high with four hits, going 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, Josh Carter and Jason McBride had two hits and a double apiece. It was the 26th time in 40 games this season OSU has managed at least 10 hits and the 12th time the Beavers have reached 15 hits.

Oregon State improved its record at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field to 15-5 this spring. The Beavers also upped their record in one-run games this season to 9-3.

OREGON STATE 10, WASHINGTON STATE 9

Washington State  040 400 001 -  9 14 0Oregon State	  022 212 10x - 10 15 3

Fisher, Niles (4), Alwert (7) and Baeder. Nicholson and Ingram. WP-Nicholson (8-2). LP-Niles (0-3). 2B-Robertson (WSU), Barden (OSU), Jarvis (OSU), Carter (OSU), Biles (OSU), McBride (OSU), Hudson (OSU). HR-Bailie (WSU), Biles (OSU).

HITS: Washington State 14 (Thomas 2x5, Knight 1x5, Bailie 2x4, Gates 3x5, Robertson 2x4, Boston 1x5, Baeder 1x4, Hall 1x3, Hecker 1x3), Oregon State 15 (Stark 1x3, Barden 4x5, Jarvis 1x4, Carter 2x4, Biles 3x5, McBride 2x5, Hudson 1x4, Gordon 1x3). RUNS BATTED IN: Washington State 9 (Thomas 1, Bailie 3, Boston 2, Hall 2, Hecker 1), Oregon State 10 (Stark 1, Barden 2, Carter 1, Biles 4, McBride 1, Hudson 1).

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