Beavers bash K-State, force winner take all game 3
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis hit back-to-back home runs in a five-run first inning and Oregon State beat Kansas State 12-4 Sunday night to force a decisive third game in the NCAA super regional series.
Oregon State's Tyler Smith and Kavin Keyes each had four hits and Oregon State (49-11) combined for a season high 21 hits. Andrew Moore, the Pac 12's freshman of the year, allowed six hits and three earned runs over eight innings, striking out a season-high nine batters.
The Beavers scored five runs in the first off six straight hits. With two outs, Conforto and Davis blasted back-to-back line-drive solo home runs. Ryan Barnes then added an RBI single to chase Kansas State starter Blake McFadden (6-3), who lasted just 23 pitches and 2-3 of an inning.
Jake Rodriguez hit a two-run single to cap off a five-run first, then Davis kept things going in the second with a two-run single to give Oregon State a 7-0 lead. Kansas State's Jared King got the Wildcats on the board with a solo home run in the second, but Moore (14-1) struck out five of the next six batters he faced.
"That was just huge, letting me kind of relax," Moore said about the Beavers' early lead. "Just getting that energy going early on, I think we definitely fed off that the whole game. The crowd was into it, the dugout was into it, and working off that just helped me relax and go out there and be aggressive early in counts."
Oregon State added two more in the third when Max Gordon bunted home Barnes, and Smith followed with an RBI double to bring home Keyes who scored four times.
Kansas State (45-18) scored twice in the fourth on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Austin Fisher and Jon Davis after the Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs.
But Andy Peterson had an RBI infield single in the fifth, Smith drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh and Oregon State tacked on another run in the ninth when Smith followed Joey Matthews' double with an RBI single.
Kansas State added a run in the ninth when Mitch Meyer knocked an infield single with the bases loaded.
"The back-to-back home runs really got the crowd going and you could tell their team fed off that," Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. "A freshman on the mound just got a little shell-shocked and couldn't shut it down and that was pretty much it."
Eight Beavers finished with multiple hits, and Smith and Davis each had three RBIs.
"Right now, it's just about winning games," Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. "We played well. I thought we did things well. We certainly strive for excellence. I don't think any of our guys are satisfied with finishing second in anything they do."
The deciding game is Monday at 7 p.m.
Oregon State head coach Pat Casey
On the game
"It was nice to come out and get some runs. I thought our guys did a good job of showing up ready to play and it took a lot of the edge off, a lot of the pressure off. (Andrew) Moore was good."
On the conversation after yesterday's game
"We just talked about things we talk about all the time. Like we said yesterday, it wasn't about a lack of effort. We talked about some things about how we wanted to approach the hitting part of it, and that was about it."
On the team's hitting approach tonight compared to the first game
"I thought we were more patient, got better pitches to hit and didn't swing so early in the count. We allowed ourselves to get deeper in counts and get better pitches to hit."
On how the early runs set the tone
"It set the tone - it was nice - but I thought we were going to play well regardless if we scored in the first inning. I thought we would play well. I thought our players would come and respond. Somebody mentioned it last night, I think (Michael) Conforto talked about the fact that we had lost to UCLA Friday night, we lost to Washington State and we lost to Oregon. We thought we would respond."
Pitcher Andrew Moore
On pitching in such an important game
"It was definitely huge coming out with Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis getting the first two home runs. That was huge because it allowed me to kind of relax and just getting that energy going early on. I think we definitely fed off of that the entire game. The crowd was into it and the dugout was into it. I was able to go out there and be aggressive with early strikes."
On being jittery before the game
"No, not really. It was the same crowd we played in front of and having the lead was awesome so I could relax. We were just excited to get out there and to perform for the crowd."
Outfielder Dylan Davis
On the offense in the first inning
"As a team, we really wanted to get out and throw the first punch like Coach Casey and Coach Yeskie always tells us. You want to put the other team on their heels. After yesterday, we made some adjustments like Coach Casey said. We really took advantage of our offense and looked for pitches that we wanted. Michael (Conforto) got a pitch that he was waiting for. I was being patient and didn't want to be too jumpy by getting excited after his homerun."
On whether the team has the momentum in the series now
"Definitely. I think you just kind of feed off the pitcher and the offense. There is always a tone setter. If you are the home team then the pitcher sets the tone, and if you're the visitor, then we want to set the tone as hitters."
Third Baseman Kavin Keyes
On being one game away from going to Omaha
"We are just worried just one pitch at a time tomorrow. We can't think about Omaha right now. We need to go out and get that win tomorrow with the same energy we came out with today."
The win by the Beavers forces a game three in the Corvallis Super Regional. That game has been pushed to a 7:05 p.m. PT start and will air on either ESPNU or ESPN2. Follow Twitter.com/Beaver_Baseball for that information on Monday.