No. 11 OSU Takes Baseball Series With 5-1 Victory

May. 1, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Jonah Nickerson and Kevin Gunderson combined on an eight-hitter and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in three runs with a pair of hits as No. 11 Oregon State beat No. 20 Arizona State 5-1 in Pacific-10 baseball Sunday afternoon at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. A sellout crowd of 2,120 saw the Beavers (32-8 overall, 11-3 Pacific-10) win the weekend series and take sole possession of second place in the Pac-10 race, one game behind leader Arizona.

OSU plays host to Portland on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in a non-conference game, then resumes Pacific-10 play at UCLA next weekend. All four games can be heard on KEJO-AM (1240).

In the series finale against Arizona State (92-17, 10-5), Nickerson earend the win to improve his record to 7-0 while Gunderson tied a pair of OSU save records with his ninth of the season and the 12th of his career. Ellsbury singled home the tying run and scored the go-ahead run during OSU's three-run third inning, then added a two-out, two-run single in the fourth that made it 5-1.

'This is exciting, playing in front of a great crowd, a loud crowd - it makes it a lot more fun,' Ellsbury said.

OSU added sets of bleachers down the rightfield line for Sunday's game to boost capacity after Saturday's game had also sold out. For the second straight day, the crowd was a record for the ballpark since its 1999 renovation, and the weekend's total attendance of 5,923 was a post-renovation record for a series.

'We had more people at our (pregame) batting practice than we had at some of our games - it was great,' said OSU head coach Pat Casey, whose team had drawn some small crowds of diehards during a wet month of March. 'I tell our guys that if you win, they'll come. Last year, I felt disappointed a little bit because we had this thing full - not like today - but we had some great crowds and we just didn't play very well at home and I felt down about that. This year, it was great to see that may people here and see us win.'

Nickerson picked up his first win since beating California on April 3, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing one run on six hits and two walks while striking out four. He had pitched well the last three Sundays only to have the Beavers commit eight errors in those games, but OSU played errorless defense behind him against the Sun Devils.

'Jonah was sharp,' Casey said of Nickerson, who allowed just his ninth earned run in 72 1/3 innings this season. 'I think he felt the energy of the crowd, and I thought he pitched well. That's a tough matchup because they ran seven lefthanders at him.

'Everything worked for him - the fastball was where he wanted it, the breaking ball was good and we played some defense behind him.'

Gunderson entered the game with two out and two runners on in the top of the seventh inning and retired Colin Curtis on a groundout. ASU also threatened with a hit and a walk in the top of the eighth, but rightfielder Mike Lissman made a diving catch on a line drive hit by Seth Dhaenens and first baseman Andy Jenkins leaped to get a chopper off the bat of Tuffy Gosewisch to start a fielder's choice and Gunderson got out of the inning unscathed.

It marked the third time this season that Gunderson has picked up two saves in a weekend. His nine saves this spring match the record set by Jared Sanders in 2002, and the 12 in his career equal Sanders' mark from 2002-04.

'When Gunderson has the ball, I feel pretty good,' Casey said. Arizona State stranded 10 runners, but only three of those had advanced into scoring position; Nickerson, the Pac-10 earned run average leader going into the week, now has a mark of 1.17.

'You can't ask anything more of them,' Ellsbury said of Nickerson and Gunderson. 'Jonah was awesome just like he always is and Gundy was awesome like he usually is. When you get that great a pitching, you're going to win a lot of ballgames and we played good defense behind them.'

ASU had taken a 1-0 lead in the third on three straight two-out singles by Travis Buck, Dhaenens and Jeff Larish. OSU answered against Sun Devil righthander Pat Bresnehan in the bottom of the inning.

Mike Lissman singled to left, was sacrificed to second by Chris Kunda and took third on a wild pitch. Ellsbury then hit a bouncer up the middle for an infield single, driving in Ellsbury to tie it at 1-1. Tyler Graham was next, and with Ellsbury running on a two-ball, one strike pitch, he hit a shallow fly to left; leftfielder Curtis dove for it but had it bounce past him for a double and Ellsbury scored to give OSU the lead.

'We were sitting on our hands a little, so we started Jacoby and when Graham hit that ball, it got us going a little bit,' Casey said. 'We needed to be the aggressors and push it a bit, and the ball bounced our way.'

ASU went to Erik Averill - who had started Friday night's game - and his error on a pickoff play sent Ellsbury to third. He scored on Darwin Barney's sacrifice fly for a 3-1 OSU lead.

Nickerson then retired ASU in order on six pitches in the top of the fourth inning and OSU went back to work. Singles by Mitch Canham, Shea McFeely and Lissman loaded the bases with two out for Ellsbury, and he dropped a single into short centerfield to drive in two runs for a 5-1 lead.

It was a personal recovery from Saturday's 3-1 loss, when Ellsbury had a 20-game hitting streak snapped and grounded out with the bases loaded when OSU threatened in the seventh inning.

'Last night I kind of thought about it a little bit - usually I don't,' Ellsbury said. 'But today I kind of wiped Saturday's game off. I came up in the same situation as I did and I just wanted to hit the ball hard and put it in play and make something happen.'

Ellsbury finished 2-for-4, his 22nd multi-hit game this season, and the leader in the Pac-10 batting race going into the week improved his average to .442. Lissman was also 2-for-4 for the Beavers, and Jenkins extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games with an eighth-inning double to left.

OSU's 11 Pac-10 wins equal the Beavers' most since the conference combined its Northern and Southern divisions prior to the 1999 season. Oregon State's 32 overall wins are the most in a season since the Beavers finished 1998 with a record of 35-14-1.


Arizona State 001 000 000 - 1 8 1Oregon State  003 200 00X - 5 9 0

Bresnehan, Averill (3), Barnette (4), Bordes (5) and Gosewisch. Nickerson, Gunderson (7) and Canham. W-Nickerson (7-0). L-Bresnehan (3-4). Sv-Gunderson (9). 2B-Graham (OSU), Jenkins (OSU).

HITS: Arizona State 8 (Buck 2x4, Dhaenens 1x3, Larish 2x3, Stockfisch 1x2, Romine 2x4), Oregon State 9 (Ellsbury 2x4, Graham 1x4, Barney 1x2, Jenkins 1x4, Canham 1x3, McFeely 1x3, Lissman 2x4). RUNS BATTED IN: Arizona State 1 (Larish 1), Oregon State 5 (Ellsbury 3, Graham 1, Barney 1).

Arizona State 1 (29-17,10-5 PAC-10)           Oregon State 5 (32-8,11-4 PAC-10)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI--------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------Colin Curtis lf/cf......... 5 0 0 0 Jacoby Ellsbury cf......... 4 1 2 3Travis Buck rf............. 4 1 2 0 Tyler Graham lf............ 4 1 1 1Seth Dhaenens 2b........... 3 0 1 0 Darwin Barney ss........... 2 0 1 1Jeff Larish 1b............. 3 0 2 1 Andy Jenkins 1b............ 4 0 1 0Tuffy Gosewisch c.......... 4 0 0 0 Mitch Canham c............. 3 0 1 0Jason Urquidez dh.......... 0 0 0 0 Shea McFeely 3b............ 3 1 1 0 Austin Stockfish ph/dh.... 2 0 1 0 Cole Gillespie dh.......... 4 1 0 0 Zechry Zinicola ph........ 1 0 0 0 Mike Lissman rf............ 4 1 2 0Joey Hooft 3b.............. 4 0 0 0 Danny Anderson rf......... 0 0 0 0J.J. Sferra cf............. 2 0 0 0 Chris Kunda 2b............. 2 0 0 0 Rocky Laguna ph/lf........ 1 0 0 0 Jonah Nickerson p.......... 0 0 0 0 Willy Fox ph.............. 1 0 0 0 Kevin Gunderson p......... 0 0 0 0Andrew Romine ss........... 4 0 2 0Pat Bresnehan p............ 0 0 0 0 Erik Averill p............ 0 0 0 0 Tony Barnette p........... 0 0 0 0 Brett Bordes p............ 0 0 0 0Totals..................... 34 1 8 1 Totals..................... 30 5 9 5

Score by Innings R H E-------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 001 000 000 - 1 8 1Oregon State........ 003 200 00X - 5 9 0-------------------------------------------

E - Bresnehan. DP - Oregon St. 1. LOB - Arizona St. 9; Oregon St. 6. 2B - Graham;Jenkins. HBP - Barney. SH - Canham; Kunda. SF - Barney. SB - Ellsbury.

Arizona State IP H R ER BB SO------------------------------------------------Pat Bresnehan L,3-4....... 2.1 4 3 2 0 1Erik Averill .............. 1.0 2 2 2 0 0Tony Barnette ............. 1.1 2 0 0 0 1Brett Bordes .............. 3.1 1 0 0 1 3

Oregon State IP H R ER BB SO------------------------------------------------Jonah Nickerson W,7-0..... 6.2 6 1 1 2 4Kevin Gunderson S,9....... 2.1 2 0 0 1 1

WP - Bresnehan; Nickerson. HBP - by Barnette (Barney).

Umpires - HP: Heath Jones 1B: Dick Flaherty 3B: Terry Mann

Start: 1:05 PM Time: 2:51 Attendance: 2120

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