Oregon State beats UCLA, wins Pac-12 baseball series; Heimlich honored
LOS ANGELES — Michael Gretler’s ninth-inning RBI single snapped a 1-1 tie and helped send the top-ranked Oregon State baseball team to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over UCLA Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Adley Rutschman walked to open the ninth, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored when Gretler, second batter of the inning, chopped a 2-2 pitch from UCLA reliever Jake Bird up the middle.
The game wasn’t without some more dramatic movements, however, in the bottom of the ninth as UCLA loaded the bases with two down. But Brandon Eisert was able to end the game with a bases-loaded strikeout of UCLA pinch hitter Jeremy Ydens, on a 2-2 pitch, to claim the series victory.
Jake Thompson started, and was masterful, holding UCLA hitless through six. The right-hander out of Siuslaw High School in Florence ended up scattering three hits and a run in seven innings, striking out three. UCLA did not put a runner in scoring position until the seventh inning.
UCLA’s starter, Jon Olsen, was also sharp, working 6 1/3 scoreless innings, holding the Beavers to two hits and four walks. Like Thompson, he did not figure in the decision.
The Bruins (18-18 overall, 10-8 Pac-12 Conference) broke through on the scoreboard with a two-out double by Jack Stronach in the seventh that hugged the left field line.
Oregon State (32-3, 16-2), however, answered with a run of its own in the eighth. Nick Madrigal doubled, moved to third on a single by Steven Kwan, and scored when Tyler Malone lined a sacrifice fly to center.
Mitchell Verburg, who came on in relief in the eighth and worked an inning, picked up the win, the first of his career. Jake Mulholland then came in and got an out before the Bruins were able to load the bases. Eisert, the fifth pitcher of the ninth inning, picked up his first career save after getting out of the bases-loaded jam in the ninth.
Sunday’s game marked the final contest for the Beavers outside the state of Oregon through the regular season. Oregon State hosts Oregon Tuesday at 5:35 p.m. at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field in a nonconference contest.
Heimlich honored by Pac-12
SAN FRANCISCO – Oregon State junior left-hander Luke Heimlich has been named the Pac-12 Conference’s Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season, the league announced on Monday.
The honor comes on the heels of his 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Friday in Los Angeles, limiting UCLA to two hits while striking out 10, one shy of tying his career-high. He held the Bruins hitless through 6 2/3 innings.
Heimlich didn’t end up with the victory in Oregon State’s 4-2 win, but he did lower his earned run average to 0.75, which now leads the nation. He’s the only pitcher with enough qualifying innings — one inning pitched per team game — to have a sub-1.00 ERA.
The Puyallup, Wash., native earned his first Pac-12 honor on Feb. 21. A speech communication major, he is also on the midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the nation’s top amateur player.