Baseball: OSU’s pitching secures victory

Trey Nielsen waits for the ball at first base April 7. Utah played more defense this weekend with three straight losses to Oregon State. Erin Burns / The Daily Utah Chronicle
Trey Nielsen waits for the ball at first base April 7. Utah played more defense this weekend with three straight losses to Oregon State.
Erin Burns / The Daily Utah Chronicle

The No. 6 Oregon State Beavers chewed through Utah’s lineup this weekend on their way to a series sweep.
OSU outscored the Utes 13-4 and utilized a 27-12 hit differential to cap their second consecutive Pac-12 series sweep. Three productive innings and Oregon State‘s outstanding pitching were the key factors in their victories.
Although the series’ run tally was heavily skewed toward Oregon State, the series opened with a grinding pitcher’s duel the Utes dropped 1-0. Mitch Watrous was dominant and allowed just four hits over seven innings. However, Matt Boyd, who has a 1.55 ERA, was even better for the Beavers on the mound. He only allowed two hits on his way to the complete game shut-out.
“All three pitchers were outstanding tonight,” Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said after Friday’s game. “Besides the five walks, Mitch was outstanding, and Boyd was really good.”
Oregon State was able to get on the board in the first frame, which would eventually doom the Utes in the pitchers’ duel.
“They scored in the first inning, and we really had one opportunity to score all night and didn’t get it done,” Kinneberg said. “We just didn’t mount anything.”
Cory Hunt and Tyler Relf were the only Utes able to connect for hits Friday. Hunt was caught stealing second to end the third inning. Relf managed to advance to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt before Konnor Armijo lined out to third base to end the only threat Utah made in the eighth.
Utah put up a fight in the series opener, but the Beavers won in more decisive fashion in the last two games of the series.
One big inning helped boost the Beavers to a victory Saturday. Dalton Carroll kept things close for Utah through four innings, but the wheels came off in the fifth. Oregon State plated two runs before Carroll could get an out, making it 5-1 OSU. Then Josh Chapman took over pitching duties and allowed two more runs in the inning before retiring the side.
Utah didn’t go away easily and managed to score runs in the 6th and 7th. T.J. Bennett hit an RBI double in the sixth to score Kody Davis. In the seventh, Connor Eppard and Konnor Armijo each singled to lead to a sacrifice fly from Cory Hunt. However, Oregon State kept their foot on the gas and scored another run in the bottom of the seventh to seal the game, 8-3.
Sunday’s game had the same outcome as a result of another one-inning offensive explosion for OSU. Tanner Banks made a return to action on the hill for Utah, after missing the previous three weeks with a broken finger. He looked strong through two innings, but gave up four earned runs in the third and ended his day on that note. Joe Pond came in to relieve Banks and managed to blank the Beavers through the next 4 1/3 innings.
Utah struggled to mount any offense again versus Oregon State’s pitcher Ben Wetzler. He went 6 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and striking out eight in the win. Utah had two of its three hits in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. AJ Young led off the inning with a double down the left field line and scored when Wyler Smith singled up the middle. Oregon State had it wrapped up from the third inning on though, taking the 4-1 win to complete the sweep.
The Utes will return to Utah for a non-conference matchup Tuesday night in Orem. They’ll face in-state foe Utah Valley University as they look to get things back on track and build some momentum in their favor.