Opening up Pac-12 play, Oregon State took it to the Utes by not only winning the games but outscoring Utah by a combined score of 19-2.
“That is a quality team,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “We didn’t have much to counter with their pitching. Early in the game we continued to be behind in the count, and they took advantage of that. We haven’t shown that all year long.”
Despite the final score, 6-1, game one started off as a dogfight. The two teams were in a pitching duel, recording only one run between the teams, until a five-run sixth inning put the Beavers ahead for good. Utah was held hitless until the eighth inning when catcher Konnor Armijo got on base with a single. The Utes finally got on the board when freshman infielder Hunter Simmons hit a single to bring Armijo home. Starting pitcher Mitch Watrous allowed nine hits while striking out four in six innings.
Saturday’s game saw Oregon State get an early lead and hold on until the end. The Utes, already down by five runs, were only able to muster up one run yet again. Senior infielders TJ Bennett, Cory Hunt and sophomore catcher AJ Young all went 2-for-4 at the plate, with Young driving in the lone run. Sophomore pitcher Bret Helton got the start on the mound, pitching four innings and striking out five.
Despite the four-run deficit, the Utes were holding strong and kept the Beavers honest. Utah had plenty of opportunities, collecting nine hits on the day, but were not able to take advantage as it left nine runners on base.
In game three, it seemed the long weekend left the Utes without any steam. Oregon State came out swinging, taking a 3-0 lead after the first inning. The Beavers only expanded on that lead, shutting out Utah 8-0 by the game’s end.
“You get three hits today [Sunday’s game] and score two runs in three ball games — [that] is not a good effort offensively,” Kinneberg said. “We have to get off to a better start than that.”
Senior Tanner Banks gave up six runs on six hits, recording only one strike out. Josh Chapman came in for relief in the fourth inning, but the loss was given to Banks. Two more pitchers made appearances in the game, as the Utes struggled to contain the Oregon State batters.
The lone bright spot for Utah’s offense was senior Braden Anderson, who went 2-for-3 with the bat, including a double.
“I think we are better than we showed this weekend,” Anderson said. “We just got to get in some extra swings on our own … I think we are going to comeback Tuesday night and have a big night and put up some runs.”
The Utes will next compete Tuesday night against UVU at Smith’s Ballpark. The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.