Cougars lose 1-0 in pitching duel at Oregon State
CORVALLIS, Oregon — A two-out RBI single by Wade Meckler in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded gave No. 20 Oregon State a 1-0 victory over BYU in game one of a three-game series on Thursday.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, the run was unearned as Beaver left fielder Joe Casey reached first base on a throwing error to lead off the inning, and later scored after a walk and hit batter advanced him to third. The one run was all Oregon State needed as a trio of Beaver pitchers held BYU to one hit and five walks over nine innings.
“We had a few opportunities throughout the game but just couldn't get the big hit,” said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood.
BYU’s best scoring opportunity came in the top of the six when sophomore Payton Cole doubled down the right field line to open the inning. Sophomore Andrew Pintar and senior Mitch McIntyre then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs. Beaver starter Kevin Abel struck out the next three Cougars on 15 pitches to end the threat.
BYU got outstanding pitching performances from sophomores Easton Walker and Mikade Johnson. The two surrendered just six hits and no runs over seven and a third innings, while combining for eight strikeouts. Oregon entered the game hitting .324 as a team with 61 runs in eight games.
“Abel was very impressive tonight and Easton matched him pitch for pitch,” said Littlewood. “Easton gave us a great start and a chance to win against a talented Oregon State lineup.”
Game one of the series had all the makings of a pitching duel, as Walker entered the game with an ERA of 0.84 with 6 strikeouts in 10.2 innings, while Abel had an ERA of 0.93 and 18 strikeouts in 9.2 innings.
Both starters lived up to expectations as Walker faced 22 Beavers over five innings, giving up five hits and no runs, while Abel faced 23 Cougars over six innings, surrendering just one hit and no runs.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Friday, March 5, at 5:35 p.m. PST. The game will be streamed live by Oregon State and also broadcast by BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio FM 107.9, BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars app. Game three is set for Saturday, March 6 at 1:35 p.m. PST.