CORVALLIS, Ore. – Catcher Logan Ice slammed a double off the right-field fence with one out in the last of the ninth to drive in the only run of the game and No. 2 Oregon State moved back into first place in the Pacific-12 Conference on Saturday with a thrilling 1-0 victory over No. 5 Washington at Goss Stadium.
Ice’s dramatic blast ended a classic duel between OSU’s (40-9, 21-5) Jace Fry and Washington’s (38-12-1, 20-6) Tyler Davis. With a season-high crowd of 3,323 fans hanging on every pitch, they matched zeroes for 8 1/2 innings before the Beavers finally broke through and evened the series at one game apiece heading into Sunday’s 3:05 p.m. finale.
Dylan Davis began the decisive rally with an opposite-field single to right field, only the sixth hit allowed by Tyler Davis. Gabe Clark sacrificed and Michael Howard was intentionally walked to set up a possible inning-ending double play.
Washington closer Troy Rallings, who pitched a perfect ninth to save Washington’s 4-2 victory in Friday’s series opener, was summoned to from the bullpen to face the switch-hitting Ice. Batting left, Ice slammed Rallings’ first pitch off the wall in front of the temporary bleachers and Dylan Davis flew home with the game-winning run, touching off a wild celebration as the Beavers mobbed Ice out near second base.
The Beavers now lead Washington by one game in their bid to repeat as Pac-12 champions for the first time since 2006. Both teams have one conference series remaining after Sunday’s showdown; the Beavers head to USC while the Huskies host defending NCAA champion UCLA next weekend.
Fry (11-1) was superb as he authored his fourth shutout of the season and lowered his ERA to 1.39. He struck out nine, walked three, allowed just seven hits and threw 67 strikes in 107 pitches. He has now won seven consecutive Pac-12 games and is 8-1 in league play with a 1.00 ERA.
Scoring opportunities were minimal on both sides, to be expected considering each starter entered with 10-1 records and ERAs of 1.77 (Davis) and 1.64 (Fry).
Washington loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth but Fry got Brian Wolfe on a popup to shortstop Trever Morrison to end the threat.
In the seventh, OSU second baseman Andy Peterson gunned down Austin Rei when the Husky catcher tried to score all the way from second on Braden Bishop’s two-out infield hit. Morrison fielded the ball in the hole threw to Peterson in an unsuccessful attempt for a force out; Peterson alertly saw that Rei never stopped running and his throw home was in time to retire Rei for the third out.
Rei was also stranded at second in the ninth inning following a leadoff single and a sacrifice. Fry retired the next two hitters on groundouts and the game remained scoreless heading into the last of the ninth.
OSU had three base hits and stranded two runners in the first and second innings but then had only two more hits and no runners in scoring position until the ninth.
The Beavers drew a season-high crowd for the second straight day and the 3,323 fans raised the season total to 61,785 in 22 openings, an average of 2,808 per date. It was the second-largest regular-season crowd in school history, and the seventh-largest overall. The Beavers have drawn 2,032 or more fans to every home game, and at least 2,758 to every Pac-12 home game.
Theseries concludes at 3:05 p.m. Sunday with the Beavers’ regular-season home finale. They play a nonleague contest at Oregon on Tuesday night and then go to Los Angeles for a Friday-Sunday series against USC.
For more information on the Oregon State baseball team, follow the club’s official Twitter account at Twitter.com/Beaver_Baseball or by Facebook at Facebook.com/OregonStateBaseball.