Slow Start Costs Beavers

March 28, 2002

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State gave up 10 runs in the first three innings, then had its comeback fall short in a 13-9 loss to Arizona in Pacific-10 baseball Thursday afternoon at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The Beavers (15-10 overall, 0-1 Pac-10) outscored the Wildcats (21-10, 2-2) 9-3 over the final five innings before dropping their conference opener.

OSU and Arizona continue their three-game series Friday at 2 p.m. and wrap it up Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Beaver ballpark. Both games can be heard on KLOO-AM (1340).

Oregon State starting pitcher Ben Rowe was charged with all 10 of Arizona's runs in the first three frames. Then freshman righthander Mike Ekstrom turned in his longest outing of the season, allowing just three runs (two earned) over the final 6 1/3 innings to give OSU a chance to get back in the game.

'To see a freshman go out there and compete the way he did - that was a big step for him,' OSU coach Pat Casey said. 'Our guys battled and competed after a very poor start, and that's the way it is in athletics - you win and lose as a team. Everybody has to be ready to go. We didn't get off to a good start and they took advantage of it, but we didn't roll over, we came back and played hard.'

Ekstrom allowed the three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two. His longest previous outing was three innings against Washington State on March 15, and he was pitching just three days after making his first career start and earning no decision against Portland on Monday.

'You've just got to go out and think of it the same as a 1-0 game,' Ekstrom said of his mindset with the Beavers trailing 10-0. 'You come out and throw your pitches ... I was just looking to go one out at a time, and one pitch at a time.'

Trailing 11-0 by the bottom of the fifth inning, the Beavers looked to make a game of it after Tom Creighton's two-out single drove home OSU's first run. Two hitters later, Chris Biles followed with his first career grand slam - a drive into the trees just to the right of straightaway centerfield - to make it 11-5. Brian Barden doubled, then Andy Jarvis singled to center and it was 11-6 with nearly half the game to go.

The Wildcats responded with a run in the top of the sixth inning, and OSU answered with Will Hudson's first homer of the season. Arizona picked up another run in the top of the seventh for a 13-7 lead, and the Beavers finally plated their final runs on Barden's two-run double to the fence in right-center in the bottom of the ninth.

Barden's two doubles on the day gave him 30 in his career, moving him into a tie for 10th place on OSU's all-time list of career leaders. Barden's 2-for-5 day moved him up several other Beaver all-time leader lists as well, giving him third in total bases (287) and a tie for third in hits (187).

Biles had a 2-for-3 day and also showed signs of breaking out of a recent slump.'Those guys hit some balls pretty well for us today,' Casey said of the junior duo. 'They've struggled a little bit, so it's nice to see them both getting the barrel on the ball.'

Rowe's start was uncharacteristic for the sophomore righthander, who has been the steadiest member of OSU's rotation since the beginning of the season. After giving up a pair of first-inning runs, he allowed a five-run second inning that included a three-run homer by Brad Hassey and a three-run second that included a two-run homer by Moises Duran.

'Ben has been very good for us this year, and he had a bad start - those things happen,' Casey said. 'If it was a one-game series, we'd be done. But it's a three-game series, and I hope our guys respond the next two days ... we've battled and competed all year, and that's what I expect to see Friday.'

Sophomore righthander Sean Rierson got the win for Arizona, going seven innings and allowing seven runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out five. Hassey was 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs for the Wildcats, while Justyn St. Clair was 3-for-4 and Duran was 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs.

Thursday marked 50 years to the day since OSU started its 1952 season with a 22-5 win over Pacific (Ore.), a season which ended with the Beavers reaching the College World Series. Oregon State is commemorating the 50th anniversary of that team this spring, and on Thursday the ceremonial first pitch of the conference season was thrown by Paul Valenti, an assistant coach on the 1952 team who still works as an administrator in the OSU athletic department.

ARIZONA 13, OREGON STATE 9

Arizona		253 011 100 - 13 14 1Oregon State	000 061 002 -  9  8 2

Rierson, Goodman (8), Zlotoff (9) and Cunningham. Rowe, Ekstrom (3) and Richie, Udy (7). WP-Rierson (5-2). LP-Rowe (4-2). 2B-Anderson (UA), Duran (UA), Barden 2 (OSU). HR-Hassey (UA), Kaiser (UA), Duran (UA), Biles (OSU), Hudson (OSU).

HITS: Arizona 14 (Hassey 3x5, St. Clair 3x4, Anderson 1x2, Cunningham 1x4, Kaiser 1x3, Van Houten 1x4, Hardy 1x4, Duran 3x4), Oregon State 8 (Creighton 1x4, Biles 2x3, Barden 2x5, Jarvis 1x5, Stevens 1x4, Hudson 1x4). RUNS BATTED IN: Arizona 10 (Hassey 4, Cunningham 2, Kaiser 2, Duran 2), Oregon State 9 (Creighton 1, Biles 4, Barden 2, Jarvis 1, Hudson 1).

  Arizona 13 (21-10,2-2 Pac-10)                 Oregon State 9 (15-10,0-1 Pac-10)  Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI  Brad Hassey ss.............  5  2  3  4       Tom Creighton cf/lf........  4  1  1  1  Justyn St. Clair lf........  4  2  3  0       J.R. Runyon 2b.............  3  2  0  0   Pat Reilly 1b.............  0  0  0  0       Chris Biles rf.............  3  2  2  4  Kevin Anderson cf..........  2  2  1  0       Brian Barden 3b............  5  1  2  2  Chris Cunningham c.........  4  0  1  2       Andy Jarvis 1b.............  5  0  1  1  Marc Kaiser 1b/lf..........  3  1  1  2       Pat Stevens dh.............  4  1  1  0  Richard Mercado dh.........  5  0  0  0       Seth Pietsch lf............  3  1  0  0  Jeff Van Houten rf.........  4  2  1  0        Aaron Mathews cf..........  0  0  0  0  John Hardy 3b..............  4  1  1  0       Paul Richie c..............  2  0  0  0  Moises Duran 2b............  4  3  3  2        Wick Udy ph/c.............  2  0  0  0  Sean Rierson p.............  0  0  0  0       Will Hudson ss.............  4  1  1  1   Chris Goodman p...........  0  0  0  0       Ben Rowe p.................  0  0  0  0   Wes Zlotoff p.............  0  0  0  0        Mike Ekstrom p............  0  0  0  0  Totals..................... 35 13 14 10       Totals..................... 35  9  8  9

Score by Innings R H E Arizona............. 253 011 100 - 13 14 1 Oregon State........ 000 061 002 - 9 8 2

E - Hardy, Runyon, Ekstrom. DP - Arizona 1. LOB - Arizona 6, Oregon St. 5. 2B - Anderson, Duran, Barden 2. HR - Hassey, Kaiser, Duran, Biles, Hudson. HBP - Creighton, Pietsch. SH - Hassey, Hardy. SF - Cunningham, Kaiser. SB - Biles. CS - Hassey.

Arizona IP H R ER BB SO Sean Rierson W,5-2........ 7.0 7 7 7 2 5 Chris Goodman ............. 1.2 0 2 2 2 0 Wes Zlotoff ............... 0.1 1 0 0 0 0

Oregon State IP H R ER BB SO Ben Rowe L,4-2............ 2.2 8 10 9 5 2 Mike Ekstrom .............. 6.1 6 3 2 2 2

WP - Zlotoff, Rowe. HB - Rierson 2. BK - Rowe.

Umpires - HP: Kevin Dougherty 1B: Larry Randall 3B: Jeff Hendricks Start: 2:01 PM Time: 2:52 Attendance: 466

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