Nicholson pitches OSU past fourth-ranked Arizona State
April 8, 2000
TEMPE, Ariz. - Scott Nicholson pitched a seven-hitter and Oregon State backed him with 13 hits as the Beavers took an 11-3 win over fourth-ranked Arizona State in Pacific-10 baseball Saturday afternoon at Packard Stadium. Nicholson gave up only one earned run, walking one and striking out six, as the Beavers picked up their first conference win of the season.
OSU (17-16 overall, 1-4 Pacific-10) and Arizona State (29-9, 5-3) conclude their series Sunday at 1 p.m. The game can be heard on KLOO-AM (1340).
"It's been nice for us to come in here and not be intimidated," OSU head coach Pat Casey said. "Arizona State is a solid, well-coached team and they run tremendous athletes out there. I'm glad to see our guys have taken them on, head-to-head ... we probably just saw two of the best pitching performances you'll see in this conference."
ASU led the nation in runs per game (11.25) and was second in team batting average (.346) going into the weekend but in the first two games of the series, the Sun Devils have managed four runs (two earned) on 10 hits. OSU's Thad Johnson pitched a three-hitter Friday night in the Beavers' 1-0 loss and Nicholson, a junior lefthander, picked up a few things while watching that game.
"I noticed that Thad didn't have his best stuff, but he kept his poise," Nicholson said. "He kept pitching his game. He made a couple mistakes but they didn't do anything major with it. I knew I just had to do the same thing, and our bats would show up."
The Beavers scored twice in the first inning as Drew Hedges led off with a double, Brian Barden added a run-scoring double and Andy Jarvis delivered a run-scoring single. OSU tacked on five runs in the top of the third inning to make it 7-0, with Jarvis poking a two-run double down the leftfield line and Zach Gordon and Josh Carter adding sacrifice flies.
ASU starter Chad Pennington took his first loss of the season after opening the year with six wins. In two-plus innings, Oregon State reached the righthander for seven runs (all earned) on six hits and one walk.
"Once we got some runners on base, we wanted to put the pressure on them - start some runners, steal some bases, go from first to third base on hits," Casey said. "That's one reason Arizona State is so good, because they can do those things. Fortunately for us, some balls fell in today."
ASU got a run on three hits in the bottom of the third inning and still had runners at first and second for cleanup hitter Casey Myers with two out. Myers' line drive was snared by Gordon at second base to end the inning.
"I got a little lazy that inning and left a few pitches up, and they hit a couple of balls hard," Nicholson said. "When the one ball was tagged to Zach, though, it seemed like it took the wind out of their sails."
Nicholson did not allow another hit until the eighth inning, when ASU took advantage of a leadoff error and a bad-hop double to score twice and make it 10-3. After OSU got one of the runs back in the top of the ninth, the Sun Devils came up with a pair of groundball singles before Nicholson wrapped up the game.
"Our focus, especially after the last two games against UCLA and the game against Portland (on Tuesday) was that if you don't pitch and play defense, it's difficult to win," Casey said. "Last night, we pitched and played defense and we had a chance to win for nine innings. Today, we did the same thing and came up with some hitting and beat a club that could very well be in the College World Series."
Oregon State hadn't beaten a team with a higher national ranking than ASU's No. 4 since winning at third-ranked Southern California 13-6 in 1998. It was OSU's first win over ASU in Tempe since 1967, but prior to this weekend the teams hadn't even met on the Sun Devils' home diamond since 1977.
OREGON STATE 11, NO. 4 ARIZONA STATE 3
Oregon State 205 101 101 - 11 13 1 Arizona State 001 000 020 - 3 7 3Nicholson and Ingram. Pennington, Field (3), Kartler (6), Milner (6), Fingers (7) and Myers, Pratt (9). WP-Nicholson (5-4). LP-Pennington (6-1). 2B-Hedges (OSU), Barden (OSU), Jarvis (OSU), Davis (OSU), Duncan (ASU).
HITS: Oregon State 13 (Hedges 2x4, Ingram 1x4, Gerber 3x4, Barden 2x4, Jarvis 2x3, Davis 1x2, Hudson 1x5, Coleman 1x4), Arizona State 7 (Martin 1x4, Duncan 1x3, Jones 1x4, Myers 1x3, Lopez 1x4, Gusich 1x4, Wyrick 1x3). RUNS BATTED IN: Oregon State 10 (Hedges 1, Gerber 1, Barden 2, Jarvis 3, Gordon 1, Carter 1, Coleman 1), Arizona State 3 (Duncan 1, Jones 1, Myers 1).