Johnson's Four-Hitter Goes For Naught

May 20, 2001

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State's Thad Johnson pitched a four-hitter but No. 2 Southern California scratched out a seventh-inning run and the Beavers fell 1-0 in Pacific-10 baseball Sunday afternoon at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The loss dealt a blow to postseason hopes for OSU (31-24 overall, 11-13 Pacific-10), the Beavers now have to hope they're among the 64-team field for the NCAA regionals announced Monday at noon on ESPN.

USC (39-18, 18-6) took sole possession of the Pacific-10 title by winning the regular-season finale for both teams. Sunday's game wrapped up a tightly-played series that saw USC win 7-3 in 10 innings Friday, then OSU came back for a 6-0 win on Scott Nicholson's seven-hitter Saturday.

'I don't know if I've ever been in a series of this magnitude that was played at this level,' said Oregon State coach Pat Casey, whose team committed just one error in the series and limited USC to one run over the final 18 innings. 'I'd like to be on the other side of one of those two (losses), but I don't think we left any doubt that we're one of the best 20 teams in the country.

'Our guys played at a peak level. I don't think anybody who was here this weekend could question how good we are or how good USC is.'

A loud, supportive crowd of 1,416 briefly thought the Beavers might have pulled out a win in the bottom of the ninth inning. With a runner at first base, pinch-hitter Seth Pietsch connected with a pitch from USC reliever Brian Bannister, the ball momentarily looked to be headed for the parking lot beyond the leftfield fence but it dropped into the glove of USC leftfielder Michael Morales just in front of the 330-foot marker for the second out.

'I thought it was (a home run) at first,' Pietsch said. 'But the wind just caught it up and held it up there ... we played the best we could play. We gave it 110 percent today, and Thad pitched a hell of a game.'

Johnson, a senior in his final home game, walked two and struck out four. The only run of the game was created by the only extra-base hit of the game, as USC's Anthony Lunetta led off the top of the seventh inning with a double down the leftfield line, was sacrificed to second by Michael Moon and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bill Peavey.

'It's a tough loss,' Johnson said. 'It's hard going out there when the other guy is throwing up zeroes, too. All it takes is one swing of the bat that could be the run that makes the difference, and that's what happened. Both of us were throwing well.'

The Beavers threatened to tie in the bottom of the seventh after another senior, Curtis Davis, led off with a single to right-center. Pinch-runner Jake Postlewait was sacrificed to second by Will Hudson before pinch-hitter Jason McBride struck out, then a ball hit by senior Eric Stark was bobbled by third baseman Michael Moon for an error to put runners at the corners with two out. Bryan Ingram worked a full count against Reyes, then grounded out to short.

In the eighth, OSU was again within 90 feet of tying the game after Chris Biles led off with a single against Reyes. Brian Barden then sacrificed Biles to second against Bannister and Andy Jarvis' groundout advanced Biles to third base, but Josh Carter sliced a flyout down the leftfield line to end the inning.

The Beavers gave it one final try in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Kerisi Reynolds struck out, then Hudson was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on base. Pietsch came to the plate and jumped on a one-ball, no-strike pitch for his drive that nearly reached the fence, and there were two out.

Still OSU wasn't done. Stark yanked a pitch down the rightfield line and it landed just foul or it would have gone for extra bases and perhaps scored Hudson, he then went down swinging to end the game.

The Beavers wrapped up a regular season that saw them improve their overall record by three games over their final 2000 mark, and OSU also won two more Pac-10 games than it did a year ago.

'I know this club and what we accomplished, and I couldn't be prouder of this club,' Casey said. 'They went out and battled. This program is getting better and I think these people who were here today can see that. They really turned out this weekend and saw some great games, and it got us going when they got behind us.'

The series drew 3,961 fans, and the crowds Saturday and Sunday were the two largest since Goss Stadium was added to Coleman Field for the 1999 season. Oregon State finished the season 18-7 at home, and the Beavers were 11-5 in one-run games.

Barden was 2-for-3 for OSU and Biles was 2-for-4. Biles finished the season batting .395, good for sixth-place on Oregon State's all-time list of single-season leaders, Davis' .390 average earns him seventh place.

For USC, Lunetta was 2-for-3. Reyes went seven innings and allowed six hits and three walks while striking out five, Bannister earned the save by pitching the final two innings and striking out two.

Making their final appearance for Oregon State at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field were Davis, second baseman Zach Gordon, outfielder Josh Howard, Johnson, Nicholson, Stark and pitcher Corky Wray. The Beavers wound up in sixth place in the conference standings.

NO. 2 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 1, OREGON STATE 0

Southern California	000 000 100 - 1 4 1Oregon State		000 000 000 - 0 6 1

Reyes, Bannister (8) and Concepcion. Johnson and Ingram. WP-Reyes (4-3). LP-Johnson (6-9). SV-Bannister (4). 2B-Lunetta (USC).

HITS: Southern California 4 (Concepcion 1-4, Lunetta 2x3, Self 1x3), Oregon State 6 (Ingram 1x4, Biles 2x4, Barden 2x3, Davis 1x3). RUNS BATTED IN: Southern California 1 (Peavey 1), Oregon State 0.

So. Calif. 1 (39-18,18-6 Pac-10)     Oregon St. 0 (31-24,11-13 Pac-10)                  AB  R  H RBI                         AB  R  H RBIBarre cf           4  0  0  0        Ingram c           4  0  1  0Davidson ss        4  0  0  0        Biles lf           4  0  2  0Concepcion c       4  0  1  0        Barden 3b          3  0  2  0Persell lf         3  0  0  0        Jarvis 1b          3  0  0  0Morales pr/lf      0  0  0  0        Carter rf          4  0  0  0Lunetta dh         3  1  2  0        Davis dh           3  0  1  0Moon 3b            3  0  0  0        Postlewait pr      0  0  0  0Peavey 1b          1  0  0  1        Reynolds ph        1  0  0  0J.Self 2b          3  0  1  0        Hudson ss          1  0  0  0Montanez rf        3  0  0  0        Gordon 2b          1  0  0  0Reyes p            0  0  0  0        McBride ph         1  0  0  0Bannister p        0  0  0  0        Copeland 2b        0  0  0  0                                     Pietsch ph         1  0  0  0                                     Stark cf           4  0  0  0                                     Johnson p          0  0  0  0Totals......      28  1  4  1        Totals......      30  0  6  0

Score by innings: R H E----------------------------------------------Southern California 000 000 100 - 1 4 1Oregon State 000 000 000 - 0 6 1----------------------------------------------

E - Moon, Gordon. DP - So. Calif. 2. LOB - So. Calif. 7, Oregon St. 9. 2B -Lunetta. SH - Moon, J.Self, Barden, Hudson. SF - Peavey. SB - Lunetta,J.Self, Barden. CS - J.Self.

IP H R ER BB SO WP BK HP IBB AB BF Fly GndSouthern CaliforniaReyes W 4-3 7.0 6 0 0 3 5 1 0 0 0 25 29 7 7Bannister S,4 2.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 5 7 2 2Oregon StateJohnson L 6-9 9.0 4 1 1 2 4 2 0 2 1 28 35 12 10

WP - Reyes, Johnson 2. HBP - by Johnson (Peavey), by Johnson (Persell), byBannister (Hudson).

Strikeouts - Barre 2, Concepcion, Persell, Davis 2, Reynolds, Hudson,Gordon, McBride, Stark. Walks - Lunetta, Peavey, Jarvis, Hudson, Gordon.

Umpires - Home:Kendall Snyder 1st:Darrel Mason 3rd:Kevin DaughertyStart: 12:03 pm Time: 2:40 Attendance: 1416Reyes faced 1 batter in the 8th.

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