OSU Completes Baseball Sweep At Washington

May 15, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Tyler Graham's single to centerfield in the top of the 10th inning drove in the winning run as No. 6 Oregon State beat Washington 3-1 in Pacific-10 baseball Sunday afternoon at Husky Ballpark, completing a three-game series sweep. The Beavers (39-8 overall, 17-4 Pac-10) tied the school record for victories in a season as they won their eighth straight game and kept their lead over Arizona at two games in the Pac-10 race.

'To come up here and win three in this yard against this club ... it seems like every time we play a game, somebody on our club does something that impresses me,' OSU head coach Pat Casey said. 'Everything they do, they prepare for it. Now we're excited about coming home.'

The Beavers step away from Pac-10 play to visit Portland on Tuesday at 3 p.m. OSU returns home to end the regular season against Southern California at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field with games Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 12 noon; the Beavers will not make up a game with Portland that was rained out April 12 in Corvallis.

OSU righthander Jonah Nickerson and relievers Eddie Kunz and Kevin Gunderson combined on a four-hitter as Oregon State played its first extra-inning game of the season. The Beavers had blanked the Huskies (27-21, 7-11) until Nick Batkoski homered off Gunderson with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Beavers then got Graham's looping single to shallow centerfield to drive in the go-ahead run and then and a sacrifice fly from Darwin Barney to regain the lead in the top of the 10th inning. Gunderson wouldn't let the win get away twice, allowing a two-out single but retiring the Huskies in the bottom of the inning.

The win equals the 39 wins of the 1986 Beavers, who also had victories in the Pac-10 Northern Division tournament and an NCAA Regional; the 39 wins is an Oregon State record for wins in a regular season. Jacoby Ellsbury also set OSU's record for hits in a season, recording his 84th with an infield single to break the mark set by Brian Barden in 2001.

Oregon State got the sweep against one of its longtime Pacific Northwest rivals despite getting just one hit in the series from Ellsbury, the Pac-10's leading hitter entering the week.

'Everybody was picking everybody up,' OSU head coach Pat Casey said. 'Andy Jenkins came in the dugout after the bottom of the ninth and said, `We're going to win this game - we'll find a way.' And we did.'

Nickerson pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit but walked six while matching his career-high with 10 strikeouts.

'I didn't even really feel that comfortable out on the mound today,' said Nickerson, the Pac-10 leader in earned run average entering the week. 'I got a little wild, but I just had to make my pitches when I had guys on base to get out of the innings.'

The biggest instance came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Huskies loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. Nickerson then struck out Taylor Johnson looking on three pitches and fanned Zach Clem on a full-count pitch to preserve OSU's 1-0 lead.

OSU had gotten on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Ellsbury led off with an infield single and took second on an error on the play. He was sacrificed to second by Graham, then scored on Jenkins' two-out single to left-centerfield.

Kunz got the Beavers through a scoreless eighth inning, aided by a pair of key defensive plays.

With one out and Clem at first, Kyle Larsen hit a grounder to OSU second baseman Ryan Gipson; his throw to shortstop Darwin Barney covering second base was high but Barney managed to snag the ball and get the tag down on the sliding Clem for the second out. Michael Burgher ran for Larsen and tried to steal second, but catcher Casey Priseman - who had just entered the game - threw him out trying to steal to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Gunderson - the Pac-10 leader with 11 saves - retired the first two hitters before falling behind Batkoski three balls, one strike. Batkoski drove the next pitch over the centerfield fence to tie it 1-1.

UW lefthander David Dowling, who had limited the Beavers to the one run on four hits, gave way to Josh Conover. He walked Mike Lissman and Priseman to start the top of the 10th inning and they were sacrificed to second and third by Chris Kunda.

The Huskies chose to intentionally walk Ellsbury to load the bases, then Graham punched a no-ball, one-strike pitch into center to drive in Lissman and make it 2-1.

'That's my time to come through and I guess this time I did,' said Graham, who extended his hitting streak to eight games with the hit. 'Some times before, I haven't. I got a decent piece of the ball and put it in play, and I guess it was good enough. When I hit it, I knew I got enough of it and I knew I didn't get enough of it to get it to the centerfield, just enough to get it over the second baseman.'

Washington then brought on Brandon McKerney, who gave up the sacrifice fly to Barney that scored Priseman and put OSU in front 3-1. After Gunderson set down the Huskies in the bottom of the 10th to improve his record to 5-2, the Beavers and over a hundred orange-and-black clad fans who had been on hand for the series celebrated OSU's sixth straight win at Husky Ballpark over the past three seasons.

'It was great having the fan support this weekend,' Graham said. 'From the outfield looking in at the stands, it almost looked like we had more fans than they did. That's just a tribute to how much support we get and people that love to watch Beaver baseball. It was just a real good weekend for us.

'It should be a packed house next weekend against a real good USC club, and we're looking forward to that series and finishing off the regular season.'

NO. 6 OREGON STATE 3, WASHINGTON 1 (10 INNINGS)

Oregon State  100 000 000 2 - 3 5 0Washington    000 000 001 0 - 1 4 1

Nickerson, Kunz (8), Gunderson (9) and Jenkins, Priseman (8). Dowling, Conover (10), McKerney (10) and Dunn. W-Gunderson (5-2). L-Conover (0-2). HR-Batkoski (UW).

HITS: Oregon State 5 (Ellsbury x1,4 Graham 1x4, Jenkins 1x3, Gillespie 1x2, Lissman 1x3), Washington 4 (Johnson 1x5, Clem 1x5, Batkoski 1x3, Dunn 1x2). RUNS BATTED IN: Oregon State 3 (Graham 1, Barney 1, Jenkins 1), Washington 1 (Batkoski 1).

Oregon State 3 (39-8,17-4 Pac-10)             Washington 1 (27-21,7-11 Pac-10)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI--------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------Jacoby Ellsbury cf......... 4 1 1 0 Brent Lillibridge ss....... 3 0 0 0Tyler Graham lf............ 4 0 1 1 Taylor Johnson cf.......... 5 0 1 0Darwin Barney ss........... 3 0 0 1 Zach Clem lf............... 5 0 1 0Andy Jenkins c/1b.......... 3 0 1 1 Kyle Larsen 1b............. 4 0 0 0Cole Gillespie 1b/rf....... 2 0 1 0 Michael Burgher pr........ 0 0 0 0Shea McFeely 3b............ 4 0 0 0 D.J. Neyens c............. 0 0 0 0Mike Lissman dh............ 3 1 1 0 Matt Hague rf.............. 4 0 0 0Danny Anderson rf.......... 3 0 0 0 Matt Lane dh............... 3 0 0 0 Casey Priseman c.......... 0 1 0 0 Nick Batkoski 3b........... 3 1 1 1Ryan Gipson 2b............. 3 0 0 0 Joey Dunn c................ 2 0 1 0 Chris Kunda 2b............ 0 0 0 0 Curt Rindal 1b............ 1 0 0 0Jonah Nickerson p.......... 0 0 0 0 Andy Lentz 2b.............. 2 0 0 0 Eddie Kunz p.............. 0 0 0 0 Mike Rundle 2b............ 1 0 0 0 Kevin Gunderson p......... 0 0 0 0 David Dowling p............ 0 0 0 0 Josh Conover p............ 0 0 0 0 Brandon McKerney p........ 0 0 0 0Totals..................... 29 3 5 3 Totals..................... 33 1 4 1

Score by Innings R H E---------------------------------------------Oregon State........ 100 000 000 2 - 3 5 0Washington.......... 000 000 001 0 - 1 4 1---------------------------------------------

E - A.Lentz. DP - Washington 2. LOB - Oregon St. 7; Washington 8. HR - Batkoski. SH- Graham; Kunda. SF - Barney. SB - B.Lillibrdg.; Dunn. CS - Gillespie; Burgher.

Oregon State IP H R ER BB SO------------------------------------------------Jonah Nickerson ........... 7.0 1 0 0 6 10Eddie Kunz ................ 1.0 1 0 0 0 0Kevin Gunderson W,5-2..... 2.0 2 1 1 0 2

Washington IP H R ER BB SO------------------------------------------------David Dowling ............. 9.0 4 1 1 5 6Josh Conover L,0-2........ 0.1 1 2 2 3 0Brandon McKerney .......... 0.2 0 0 0 0 0

PB - Dunn.

Umpires - HP: Kevin Gillmore 1B: Chuck Lyon 3B: Dick FlahertyStart: 1:03 pm Time: 3:01 Attendance: 620

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