Tuesday night’s home game for the University of Portland baseball team against No. 1 Oregon State had the feeling of a road match in Corvallis. Black and orange shirts filled the packed house of 1,300 as the Beavers looked to extend their best start in school history. And after a two-run sixth inning, with cheering fans on their feet, they were able to just do that.
Oregon State took down Portland in a tightly-contested affair at Joe Etzel Field, 4-3, to move up to 25-1 on the season. They have now won 20 straight games.
The Beavers dominance came on the mound, throwing 18 strikeouts. OSU’s Brandon Eisert matched the strikeout total of Portland’s four-man pitching rotation by himself with nine.
“(Oregon State) has the best pitching staff in the country and that’s why they have the number one ranking,” Pilots head coach Geoff Loomis said. “They do a good job of throwing strikes, but they also do a great job of locating their strikes.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Beavers jumped out in front with a homer to right center that brought in two runs. Freshman Chris Apran would tally his first-career home run to lead off the bottom of the second for the home team to bring the deficit to one, 2-1.
The Pilots would claim a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning when senior Kevin Wade was driven home from third and Apran, too, soon thereafter when Michael Forgione was walked with the bases loaded.
But the sixth inning crushed any hope that the Pilots could topple the Beavers for the second straight time. Two runs driven by a single to left would give Oregon State the advantage for the rest of the game and hand pitcher Grady Miller (1-5) the loss.
As a team, Portland drops to 6-22 on the season.
The Pilots will travel north to face Seattle University in Bellevue, Wash. tomorrow at noon before returning to Joe Etzel this weekend to host the Pepperdine Waves in a three-game series.