Monday, June 6, 2011

Lights Out For Diamond Dawgs


The 16th-ranked Oregon State Beavers posted a 6-4 win over Georgia Sunday to capture the NCAA Corvallis Regional in front of 3,032 at Goss Stadium.

The Dawgs saw their impressive post-season run end that included battling to the NCAA Regional final here after dropping their opening game. On Saturday, they beat Arkansas-Little Rock and on Sunday rallied past No. 25 Creighton 5-4 in 11 innings and then battled OSU. Also last week, they reached the SEC Tournament semifinal after losing their opening game in Hoover, Ala. They needed three straight wins to qualify for the postseason and knocked off Auburn, top-ranked South Carolina and third-ranked Florida. The Beavers improved to 41-17 and advance to an NCAA Super Regional where they will play second-ranked Vanderbilt in Nashville as the Commodores are a national seed.

Against the Beavers, Georgia (33-32) struck for a run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Junior second baseman Levi Hyams, who was named to the NCAA All-Regional team, continued his torrid hitting with a single. After an 0-4 for start to the regional Friday, this latest base hit made him 7-for-his-last 10. A wild pitch by OSU left-hander Josh Osich moved him to second and a fly ball by Curt Powell allowed him to get to third. Then, sophomore shortstop Kyle Farmer notched his team-leading 56th RBI with a groundout to score Hyams. OSU answered with one out in the second when first baseman Parker Berberet connected for a home run off sophomore left-hander Blake Dieterich to tie it at 1-1.

In the bottom of the second following back-to-back walks to Brett DeLoach and Peter Verdin, the Beavers lifted Osich in favor of right-hander Scott Schultz. First baseman Jonathan Hester put down a sacrifice bunt, and then Schultz came back to retire Brandon Stephens and Conor Welton to keep it 1-1. In the third, Georgia went back on top 2-1 courtesy of an RBI-double by Farmer, who like Hyams, also was named to the NCAA All-Regional team.

The Beavers answered again in the top of the fourth. Catcher Andrew Susac had a leadoff triple off the wall in left field and then DIeterich hit Ryan Dunn on a 1-2 pitch. Berberet tied the game with a run-scoring single. Dieterich hit Carter Bell with a pitch to load the bases. Jake Rodriguez gave the Beavers a 3-2 lead with a sacrifice fly for the first out in the frame. On the play, Berberet moved to third. Dieterich struck out Garret Nash for the second out to bring up leadoff hitter Ryan Barnes who grounded out as the Dawgs avoided a big inning. Hyams got a one-out double in the fifth and then Schultz responded by striking out Powell and Farmer to maintain the lead.

With one out in the seventh, centerfielder Brian Stamps hit his second home run, a solo shot to make it 4-2. That would end Dieterich’s outing as Georgia turned to senior Eric Swegman. Dieterich allowed four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings. In the bottom of the inning, Georgia closed the gap as Hester smashed a double to the gap in left center and Stamps misplay allowed him to get to third. The Dawgs sent up pinch-hitter Chase Davidson and he lined an RBI-single up the middle to score Hester to make it 4-3. The Beavers went to their bullpen as left-hander Matt Boyd came on for Schultz who struck out six in five innings of relief.

Freshman Conor Welton moved Davidson to second with a sacrifice bunt. A check-swing single by Hyams, his third hit of the contest and ninth in the regional, got Davidson to third to bring up Powell. He lined out to second for the second out and Farmer stepped to the plate. He tied the game with a run-scoring single to right as Hyams raced to third. OSU went back to its bullpen, lifting Todd and bringing in freshman Adam Duke to face Cone. He lined out to shortstop to send it to the eight at 4-all.

With one out in the eighth, the Beavers chased Swegman who hit a batter and gave up two straight singles to load the bases. Georgia brought in Bryan Benzor as OSU went to its bench in Jared Norris. After falling behind 0-2, Benzor worked the count back to full and Norris lifted a fly ball to center deep enough to score pinch-runner Michael Miller. On the play, OSU ran into the final out at third but it had reclaimed a 5-4 lead. In the ninth, Benzor issued a leadoff walk to Ryan Barnes. After a sacrifice bunt by Stamps, Kavin Keyes provided an insurance run with an RBI-double to make it 6-4. He tried to stretch it to a triple and was thrown out on a nice relay from Verdin-to-Hyams-to-Powell.

OSU closer Tony Bryant came on in the ninth and some more drama ensued. Georgia sent pinch-hitter Kevin Ruiz up and he lined a single off the 6-7, 210-pound sophomore right-hander. After a brief check to make sure he was all right, Hyams came up and then a bank of lights went out, causing a 15-minute delay. When play resumed, Hyams flew out to deep right. Powell drew a walk to bring up Farmer. He flew out to right and then it was all up to Cone, and he popped out to second. Georgia’s season came to an end.

Duke (1-0) notched the win, Taylor got his 12th save while Swegman got the loss to fall to 1-2.

“Oregon State had an answer every time we scored; we just didn’t have any shut down innings and that’s a credit to them,” said coach David Perno. “We had a few chances early but came up short a couple of key hits and were a little thin on relief pitching after our first game when 11 innings.”

“Overall, I’m really proud of how this team battled all season; it wasn’t easy for them and they overcame a lot to get this far,” Perno added.

Up next, the Dawgs will turn their attention to the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, which begins Monday in Secaucus, N.J. The draft can be followed online at The first round will be on Monday at 7 p.m. EDT. Rounds two through 30 will be on Tuesday and rounds 31-50 will be held on Wednesday. Georgia is expected to have a few players along with a handful of its signees get selected. The last day for teams to sign 2011 First-Year Player draft selections is midnight Aug. 15.

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