Creighton's Homer In Ninth Wins It
March 29, 2002
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Tom Creighton homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning to give Oregon State a 2-1 win over Arizona in Pacific-10 baseball Friday afternoon at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The Beavers (16-10 overall, 1-1 Pacific-10) had tied the game at 1-1 on Brian Barden's fifth homer of the year in the bottom of the sixth inning.
OSU and Arizona (21-11, 2-3) conclude their series Saturday at 1 p.m. The game can be heard on KLOO-AM (1340).
On Friday, the Beavers and Wildcats combined to score only three runs just a day after they had scored 22 in similar conditions. Starters Stephen Copeland of OSU and Joe Little of Arizona set the tone for a pitching duel that saw each team manage eight hits.
'Both those guys pitched well,' OSU head coach Pat Casey said. 'Stephen Copeland came out and was able to establish more than one pitch for a strike ... we made some mistakes and we've got to do a better job in some situations, but all conference wins are good and Arizona is a very good ballclub.'
Copeland, Ty Kline and Postlewait combined on the victory for OSU, with Postlewait going the final 1 2/3 innings and being credited with the win. The trio combined to walk just two and strike out six.
'I've got to tip my hat to their pitching staff - their pitchers did a good job keeping them in game,' Creighton said. 'But today Copeland and Kline and Postlewait - it doesn't get any better than that. They worked fast and got ahead of hitters. And when they got ahead, they finished hitters, they threw to their spots and hit locations.
'As exciting a game as it was to watch, it was just as much fun to play because of tempo. It was the way we like to play - aggressive and quick. It was nice to play behind a staff that was able to go out and accomplish its goal today in its aspect of the game.'
Creighton, a senior transfer from Fresno State who has started in centerfield and at first base, second base and designated hitter for the Beavers, exceeded his goal in the ninth when he lofted the first pitch from UA righthander Wes Zlotoff over the rightfield fence.
'With Chris Biles hitting behind me, and him having the big home run Thursday, I knew they'd try to get ahead of me with a first-pitch fastball,' Creighton said. 'I was looking for a pitch I could get on and hit - not necessarily to try to hit it out of the park, just to hit it hard wherever it went.'
Initially, it was hard to say whether Creighton's flyball would make it over the fence, Wildcat rightfielder Jeff Van Houten got back onto the warning track and made a leaping try but came up empty.
'It was going to be a flyout or a home run,' Creighton said of his first home run as a Beaver. 'I didn't know if the wind would knock it down. I knew it wasn't going 500 feet, but I thought it would go far enough to get out.'
Creighton also credited the play that ended the top of the ninth with giving OSU the momentum as he headed to the plate. With one out and Arizona's John Hardy at second base, Postlewait got Moises Duran to fly out to Aaron Mathews in medium-depth centerfield, Hardy tagged and headed for third but Mathews' throw beat him by several feet and third baseman Barden applied the tag to complete the inning-ending double play.
It was the second outstanding defensive play of the day for Mathews, a freshman from Grant Union High making just his fourth start. In the top of the fifth with two out and a runner at first, he raced to his left and made a diving grab on the warning track of a drive hit by Brian Anderson.
'Aaron Mathews made some big plays for us,' Casey said of the player who was also 2-for-4 at the plate with a double. 'He got the opportunity to play, and he seized it.'
All three OSU outfielders contributed defensively in the late innings. In the top of the eighth, Justyn St. Clair tried to score from second on Richard Mercado's sharply-hit two-out single to right but Chris Biles threw him out easily, in the top of the seventh, leftfielder Seth Pietsch went into the fence to grab a liner hit by Brad Hassey.
'All three of those guys in the outfield did a good job,' said Creighton, who had been shifted from center to second base for Friday's game. 'They were the unsung heroes of this game - they gave us an opportunity to win, along with our pitching staff.'
Arizona had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Hardy led off with a double, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Hassey's infield single. The Beavers evened the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when Barden drove a three-ball, one-strike pitch from Little over the fence in left-centerfield.
Barden was 2-for-3 on the day, and his 21st career homer tied him for sixth place on OSU's list of all-time leaders. He also took sole possession of third place on the school's list of career hits leaders (189) and moved into a tie for fourth on the Beavers' career RBIs list (130).
OREGON STATE 2, ARIZONA 1
Arizona 001 000 000 - 1 8 1Oregon State 000 001 001 - 2 8 2
Little, Zlotoff (8) and Cunningham. Copeland, Kline (6), Postlewait (8) and Richie. WP-Postlewait (1-2). LP-Zlotoff (1-1). 2B-Kaiser (UA), Hardy 2 (UA), Mathews (OSU). HR-Barden (OSU), Creighton (OSU). HITS: Arizona 8 (Hassey 2x4, Kaiser 1x2, Reilly 2x3, Mercado 1x1, Hardy 2x4), Oregon State 8 (Pietsch 1x4, Barden 2x3, Stevens 1x1, Jarvis 1x4, Creighton 1x4, Mathews 2x3). RUNS BATTED IN: Arizona 1 (Hassey 1), Oregon State 2 (Barden 1, Creighton 1).
Arizona 1 (21-11,2-3 Pac-10) Oregon State 2 (16-10,1-1 Pac-10) Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI Brad Hassey ss............. 4 0 2 1 Seth Pietsch lf............ 4 0 1 0 Justyn St. Clair lf........ 4 0 0 0 Will Hudson ss............. 3 0 0 0 Kevin Anderson cf.......... 4 0 0 0 Brian Barden 3b............ 3 1 2 1 Chris Cunningham c......... 4 0 0 0 Jason McBride dh........... 3 0 0 0 Marc Kaiser dh............. 2 0 1 0 Pat Stevens ph............ 1 0 1 0 Pat Reilly 1b.............. 3 0 2 0 Andy Jarvis 1b............. 4 0 1 0 Richard Mercado 1b/ph..... 1 0 1 0 Tom Creighton 2b........... 4 1 1 1 Will Thompson 1b.......... 0 0 0 0 Chris Biles rf............. 3 0 0 0 Jeff Van Houten rf......... 4 0 0 0 Paul Richie c.............. 3 0 0 0 John Hardy 3b.............. 4 1 2 0 Aaron Mathews cf........... 3 0 2 0 Moises Duran 2b............ 4 0 0 0 Stephen Copeland p......... 0 0 0 0 Joe Little p............... 0 0 0 0 Ty Kline p................ 0 0 0 0 Wes Zlotoff p............. 0 0 0 0 Jake Postlewait p......... 0 0 0 0 Totals..................... 34 1 8 1 Totals..................... 31 2 8 2
Score by Innings R H E Arizona............. 001 000 000 - 1 8 1 Oregon State........ 000 001 001 - 2 8 2
E - Cunningham, Hudson 2. DP - Oregon St. 2. LOB - Arizona 8, Oregon St. 7. 2B - Kaiser, Hardy 2, Mathews. HR - Barden, Creighton. SB - Jarvis. CS - Hudson.
Arizona IP H R ER BB SO Joe Little ................ 7.0 6 1 1 1 7 Wes Zlotoff L,1-1......... 1.0 2 1 1 1 1
Oregon State IP H R ER BB SO Stephen Copeland .......... 5.1 5 1 1 1 5 Ty Kline .................. 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 Jake Postlewait W,1-2..... 1.2 2 0 0 1 0
BK - Postlewait. PB - Richie.
Umpires - HP: Larry Randall 1B: Jeff Hendricks 3B: Kevin Dougherty Start: 2:01 PM Time: 2:27 Attendance: 724
Zlotoff faced 1 batter in the 9th.