Beavers Win Pacific-10 Opener

March 28, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State opened its Pacific-10 baseball schedule Friday night with an 8-6 win over California at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Ben Rowe pitched seven strong innings and Brad Mellinger - starting at third base for the first time ever - started a key double play and delivered a clutch two-run single for OSU (13-11, 1-0).

The Beavers and Golden Bears (15-13, 2-2) continue their series Saturday at 1 p.m. and conclude it Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games can be heard on KEJO-AM (1240).

'The first game of a series is such a big one,' OSU head coach Pat Casey said. 'Cal is a very good club, and we're in for a very good series.'

Rowe, a junior righthander, turned in his second strong start. Last Sunday against California-Santa Barbara, he didn't allow an earned run in seven innings of work; against Cal, he stretched that streak to 13 innings without an earned run before allowing a pair of runs in the seventh and one in the eighth before leaving the game.

It was the second time Rowe has shined in three appearances under the lights at the OSU ballpark. Last season, in the first-ever night game at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, he four-hit fourth-ranked Stanford in a 3-1 win.

'I do love pitching under the lights,' Rowe said. 'It's great. It's something we don't have in (his native) Australia. At night, with a good crowd - it's fantastic.'

Rowe, who improved his record to 3-1, was also the beneficiary of some switches in the Beaver infield. Tony Calderon, who had started all but one game this season at third base, moved back to the shortstop position he had played in junior college; Mellinger got the start at third and OSU responded with errorless defense.

Mellinger had five assists and a putout, and he started an inning-ending double play in the top of the eighth with OSU clinging to a 5-4 lead and the bases loaded.

'I didn't know I'd be playing third base until we took infield,' the sophomore said. 'I've never played third base in a game - not in high school, not ever. But I've worked out there. Getting that first ball hit to me out of the way released all the nervousness and butterflies. They hit quite a few at me and I made all the plays - I was excited about that.'

Mellinger, who redshirted last season after transferring from Linfield, also lined a single to right-centerfield in the bottom of the eighth to drive in two runs and give OSU an 8-4 lead.

'Brad was outstanding tonight,' Casey said. 'He's worked hard, and I was glad to see that he did the most with it when he got an opportunity.'

OSU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Seth Pietsch led off with his sixth home run of the season, then Chris Kunda tripled with two outs and scored on an error. The Beavers' increased that to 4-0 in the fourth when Chris Biles tripled, Kunda walked and Paul Richie tripled to drive in both runs. It was 5-0 after Biles' run-scoring single in the fifth; he finished the day 3-for-4.

Rowe, who allowed five hits and one walk while striking out four, didn't run into trouble until the top of the seventh inning. With two out, James Holder doubled to right-center. After a pickoff attempt at second base, Calderon was ejected; on the next pitch, Rowe surrendered a homer to Ben Conley to make it 5-2.

Cal picked up two more runs in the top of the eighth and still had the bases loaded with one out when Mellinger made perhaps the biggest defensive play of the night. Holder hit a ball sharply to Mellinger, who was able to take it to third base for one out and throw back across the diamond for the final out of the inning with OSU still up 5-4.

Oregon State immediately extended the lead back to 8-4 in the bottom of the inning. Levi Webber's pinch-hit double drove in one run before Mellinger added his two-run single over a drawn-in infield.

Those runs proved crucial. Andy Baldwin, who had pitched the Beavers out of the eighth inning, gave up solo homers to Conley and Justin Nelson in the ninth, plus a one-out double to Jeff Dragicevich. Jared Sanders then came on to face the top of the order and retired David Nicholson and Brad Smith for his third save of the season.

The Beavers handed the loss to Cal junior righthander Matt Brown, a preseason All-America third team pick by Baseball America. Brown went 7 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and four walks while striking out nine as his record fell to 2-3.

Prior to the game, a moment of silence was observed for two OSU graduates serving in the United States military who had been killed in the past week. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr., a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, was a 2001 graduate; Gregory E. Stone, a major in the U.S. Air Force, was a 1988 graduate.

OREGON STATE 8, CALIFORNIA 6

California	000 000 222 - 6 11 1Oregon State	020 210 03x - 8  9 0

Brown, Padgett (8), Talbott (8) and Grossman. Rowe, Kline (8), Baldwin (8), Sanders (9) and Richie, McMullen (9). W-Rowe (3-1). L-Brown (2-3). Sv-Sanders (3). 2B-Holder (UC), Dragicevich (UC), Jarvis (OSU), Webber (OSU). 3B-Biles (OSU), Kunda (OSU), Richie (OSU). HR-Conley 2 (UC), Nelson (UC), Pietsch (OSU).

HITS: California 11 (Nicholson 2x5, C. Jackson 1x3, Grossman 1x4, Holder 2x4, Conley 2x3, Nelson 1x3, Dragicevich 2x4), Oregon State 9 (Jarvis 1x5, Pietsch 1x4, Biles 3x4, Kunda 1x2, Richie 1x3, Webber 1x1, Mellinger 1x3). RUNS BATTED IN: California 6 (C. Jackson 1, Grossman 1, Conley 3, Nelson 1), Oregon State 7 (Pietsch 1, Biles 1, Richie 2, Webber 1, Mellinger 2).

  California 6 (15-13,2-2 PAC-10)               Oregon State 8 (13-11,1-0 PAC-10)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI --------------------------------------- --------------------------------------- David Nicholson 2b......... 5 0 2 0 Jacoby Ellsbury cf......... 4 0 0 0 Brad Smith lf.............. 5 0 0 0 Kerisi Reynolds dh......... 4 0 0 0 Conor Jackson 3b........... 3 0 1 1 Andy Jarvis 1b............. 5 1 1 0 Chris Grossman c........... 4 0 1 1 Seth Pietsch lf............ 4 1 1 1 James Holder 1b............ 4 1 2 0 Chris Biles rf............. 4 2 3 1 Ben Conley rf.............. 4 2 2 3 Tony Calderon ss........... 2 0 0 0 Jeremy Burchett cf......... 2 0 0 0 Rob Recuenco ss........... 0 0 0 0 David Weiner ph........... 1 0 0 0 Chris Kunda 2b............. 2 3 1 0 Nick Medrano cf........... 1 0 0 0 Paul Richie c.............. 3 0 1 2 Justin Nelson dh........... 3 2 1 1 Levi Webber ph............ 1 1 1 1 Jeff Dragicevich ss........ 4 1 2 0 Ian McMullen c............ 0 0 0 0 Matt Brown p............... 0 0 0 0 Brad Mellinger 3b.......... 3 0 1 2 Mike Padgett p............ 0 0 0 0 Ben Rowe p................. 0 0 0 0 Travis Talbott p.......... 0 0 0 0 Ty Kline p................ 0 0 0 0 Andy Baldwin p............ 0 0 0 0 Jared Sanders p........... 0 0 0 0 Totals..................... 36 6 11 6 Totals..................... 32 8 9 7

Score by Innings R H E ------------------------------------------- California.......... 000 000 222 - 6 11 1 Oregon State........ 020 210 03X - 8 9 0 -------------------------------------------

E - Dragicevich. DP - Oregon St. 2. LOB - California 5; Oregon St. 7. 2B - Holder; Dragicevich; Jarvis; Webber. 3B - Biles; Kunda; Richie. HR - Conley 2; Nelson; Pietsch. HBP - Reynolds. SH - Ellsbury; Recuenco.

California IP H R ER BB SO WP BK HP IBB AB BF --------------------------------------------------------------------- Matt Brown L,2-3.......... 7.1 7 7 6 4 9 0 0 0 0 29 34 Mike Padgett .............. 0.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 Travis Talbott ............ 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3

Oregon State IP H R ER BB SO WP BK HP IBB AB BF --------------------------------------------------------------------- Ben Rowe W,3-1............ 7.0 5 3 3 1 4 0 0 0 0 25 26 Ty Kline .................. 0.1 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 3 Andy Baldwin .............. 1.0 4 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 7 Jared Sanders S,3......... 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2

HBP - by Talbott (Reynolds).

Strikeouts - Nicholson; Smith 2; Burchett; Weiner; Ellsbury 3; Reynolds 2; Pietsch 2; Calderon; Richie. Walks - C.Jackson; Nelson; Calderon; Kunda 2; Mellinger.

Umpires - HP: Kevin Daugherty 1B: Mike Gilmore 3B: Jeff Jenkins Start: 5:06 PM Time: 3:15 Attendance: 506

Rowe faced 1 batter in the 8th. Padgett faced 2 batters in the 8th.

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