Baseball Swept by Oregon State
May 10, 1998
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State finished off a three-game sweep of UCLA by beating the Bruins 11-8 in non-league baseball Sunday afternoon at Coleman Field. The Beavers (35-14-1 overall, 15-9 Pacific-10 Northern Division) wrapped up their regular season schedule with the game; now they must wait until May 18 to find out if they will receive a spot in the 48-team field for the NCAA regionals.
"We went 7-2 against the (Pacific-10) Southern Division and swept two schools (UCLA and Arizona)," said the Beavers' Matt Bailie, who homered and picked up the save in the finale against UCLA (24-33, 11-19). "We showed we can play with the top conference in the nation."
In addition to sweeping Arizona and UCLA at Coleman Field, the Beavers also took the final game of a three-game series at seventh-ranked Southern California earlier this season.
"After the game, Gary (Adams, UCLA's head coach) told me that we deserved to go because we've done everything we had to do," OSU head coach Pat Casey said. "He felt we had to sweep them ... it's an interesting thing, because he's been there. I don't think he would have said that if it hadn't been the case."
OSU went 38-12-1 last season and was passed over for the NCAA field, but Casey thinks the Beavers have made a better case for themselves this time around.
"In 97, we felt we should have gotten an opportunity but we knew it would be a difficult shot because of our schedule," Casey said. "This year, we feel we've done everything we can as an institution to be selected.
"One of the things we didn't have last year was the games against the Southern Division to use as a measuring stick, and going 7-2 against those teams has got to sit in the committee's eyes."
Sunday's game was the last at Coleman Field for eight seniors - Bailie, Ben Bertrand, Jason Bronson, Andrew Checketts, Ryan Lipe, Val Mencas, Brody Percell and Jason Stranberg. The Class of 98 had a big day in their farewell to the home diamond.
Besides Bailie's homer and save, Stranberg was 3-for-3 with a double; Bertrand had a hit and drove in a run; Bronson held a lead for the Beavers for two innings in relief; and Lipe was 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Mencas may have made the biggest contribution, earning the win with three scoreless innings of relief after the Bruins had slammed five home runs in the first five innings to get within 9-8.
"He was a senior guy, and he came out huge today," OSU second baseman Brian Duerr said. "If we went 2-1 this weekend, I don't think we had a shot. But we swept them, and that was some awesome pitching."
Mencas, a lefthander, allowed a single to the first hitter he faced and then sent down nine Bruin hitters in a row while getting just one strikeout.
"I hadn't been pitching well lately, so it felt good to end on a good note," Mencas said. "I hope it turns out to be a confidence-booster before the postseason. I was trying to keep them off-balance, because they'd been on everybody's fastball the whole series. I tried to keep them off-balance with my changeup and drop the curve in now and then."
The Bruins were able to put the ball in play, but the Beavers made the plays behind Mencas and Duerr made the most spectacular.
With OSU clinging to that 11-8 lead in the top of the sixth, the Bruins got a runner to second with two out for the top of the order, Eric Byrnes. He floated a soft fly into no-man's land behind first base that looked like it would drive in a run and send UCLA into the heart of its order. Duerr, though, kept running after it and finally made a headfirst sliding, diving catch near the right-field line to end the inning.
"That changed the whole game," Mencas said. "I didn't think he'd get it, but I saw him dive and he kept hold of it."
The catch made for quite a weekend in the field for Duerr, who had been the pivot man on a triple play a day earlier.
"When you just go after it, things happen," Duerr said. "It's a funny game - if you do the things you're supposed to do, you get good things to happen."
Joe Gerber chipped in a 4-for-5 day for the Beavers and Troy Schader was 2-for-5.
UCLA had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning against OSU starter Chris Pine, but the Beavers jumped in front 7-1 with a seven-run second inning. That surge was started by a pair of Bruin errors, then UCLA starter Tony Righetti walked two hitters and gave up five hits before the frame ended.
One of those hits was a two-run single by Rob Colley, giving him 62 runs batted in for the season. That tied the school record set by Jim Wilson in 1982.
UCLA, which came into the game with over 100 homers this season, kept blasting away to get back in the game as Byrnes, Nick Theodorou and Chase Utley homered in the top of the third off Pine to make it 7-5. Utley added another homer and Eric Valent hit his 30th of the season in the top of the fifth inning off Bronson to get the Bruins within 9-8.
That's when the Beavers turned to Mencas, and he gave way to the hard-throwing Bailie in the ninth. Bailie retired the first two hitters before allowing an infield single to Byrnes; with Valent looming on deck, Bailie got Theodorou to ground out to Joe Gerber at first to end the game.
Then the Beavers began their eight-day wait to see whether they will play again.
"We'll take a day off and then practice, but it will be tough to practice when you don't know if you're going to get to keep playing games," Bailie said. "We've got to prepare like we're going to get a bid."
OREGON STATE 11, UCLA 8 UCLA 104 030 000 - 8 10 3 Oregon State 072 020 00X 11 16 0 Righetti, Klein (3), Roe (6) and Cloud. Pine, Bronson (4), Mencas (6), Bailie (9) and Bertrand. WP-Mencas (3-1). LP-Righetti (2-1). SV-Bailie (3). 2B-Atkins (UCLA), Cloud (UCLA), Stranberg (OSU), Hedges (OSU). HR-Byrnes (UCLA), Theodorou (UCLA), Valent (UCLA), Utley 2 (UCLA), Bailie (OSU). HITS: UCLA 10 (Byrnes 2-5, Theodorou 1-5, Valent 1-3, Atkins 1-3, Utley 2-4, Reece 1-2, Olson 1-2, Cloud 1-4), Oregon State 16 (Stranberg 3-3, Colley 1-4, Bertrand 1-6, Gerber 4-5, Hedges 1-4, Lipe 2-4, Schader 2-5, Bailie 2-3). RUNS BATTED IN: UCLA 8 (Byrnes 2, Theodorou 1, Valent 1, Atkins 1, Utley 3), Oregon State 10 (Stranberg 1, Colley 2, Bertrand 1, Gerber 1, Hedges 1, Lipe 1, Schader 1, Bailie 2). T-3:04. A-785.
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