May 19, 2001
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Scott Nicholson pitched a seven-hitter for his third shutout of the season as Oregon State blanked second-ranked Southern California 6-0 Saturday afternoon in Pacific-10 baseball at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The Beavers (31-23 overall, 11-12 Pacific-10) bolstered their chances for a place in an NCAA regional with the win.
OSU and USC (38-17, 17-6) conclude the regular season Sunday at 12 noon and the game can be heard on KLOO-AM (1340). A win in the finale, and the Beavers will likely be among the 64-team NCAA field that will be announced Monday, a loss could leave Oregon State as a longshot for a postseason bid.
"You work all year for the opportunity to play beyond your schedule," OSU coach Pat Casey said. "To play that many games and have it come down to the last game makes it fun and interesting to come to the yard. Everybody is looking forward to it."
OSU will send senior righthander Thad Johnson (6-8 record, 4.91 earned run average) to the mound. He'll be opposed by Trojan sophomore righthander Anthony Reyes (3-3, 4.05).
"We'll come in Sunday and put everything we have into the game," said OSU rightfielder Josh Carter, who had three hits and three runs batted in during Saturday's win. He extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Nicholson, one of seven OSU seniors playing their final home games this weekend, left the 1,372 Beaver fans with a game to remember. It was a typical performance by the lefthander, as he walked none, struck out four and didn't allow an extra-base hit.
The victory improved Nicholson to 11-2 this season, tying him for the second-most wins ever in a season by an Oregon State pitcher. It also gave him a two-year record against top-five teams of 4-1.
"I guess it's just an ability to get up for big games against big teams," Nicholson said of facing highly-ranked opponents. "Whoever we're playing, and whoever they run up there to the plate, I've just got to pitch my game."
Nicholson's three shutouts this spring tie him for fourth place on OSU's all-time list of single-season leaders, and his 10 complete games this season also tie him for fourth on the school's all-time list. Nicholson's three career shutouts tie him for seventh on OSU's all-time list, and his 15 career complete games earn him ninth place on the school's list in that category.
"He's been the guy all year for us, and that game was as good as any he's thrown," Casey said of Nicholson. "I think he tuned into the crowd and the importance of the game, and he definitely pitched to that level."
The Beavers handed Nicholson a 3-0 lead to work with in the bottom of the first inning, using four hits and a USC error. Three OSU hits didn't leave the infield, including a run-scoring chopper by Carter and a two-out, run-scoring bunt single by Zach Gordon.
"The ball bounces your way sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't," Casey said. "On our last (nine-game) road trip, the ball didn't bounce our way much, but in the first inning today, it did."
Carter finished 3-for-4 with a double, and every one of his hits drove in a run.
"It's an incredible feeling," Carter said. "At times this year, I've struggled but I didn't put my head down. I battled and I knew I'd come out of it.
"We came ready to play today - we were in a zone. It's the best I've seen our team come together all year."
The Beavers made it 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Chris Biles launched a solo homer to rightfield and Carter's two-out double down the leftfield line scored Andy Jarvis from first base. For Biles, it was his ninth homer of the season and his second in as many days and his 2-for-4 day raised his batting average to .393.
"I just feel like I'm seeing the ball well and swinging well," said Biles, whose last two homers have come against two of the college game's best pitchers in Mark Prior and Saturday starter Rik Currier.
OSU added its final run in the bottom of the seventh when Jarvis singled with two out, went to second on a passed ball and scored on Carter's bouncer into centerfield. That was all for Currier, who entered the game with a 10-1 record and 2.34 ERA.
Currier worked 6 2/3 innings Saturday and allowed six runs (three earned) on 12 hits and one walk, striking out five. The Beavers finished with 13 hits in the game, the 34th time in 54 games that OSU has had at least 10 hits.
The crowd of 1,372 was the largest at OSU since Goss Stadium was added to Coleman Field for the 1999 season. The Beavers improved their home record to 18-6 this season with Saturday's win.
OREGON STATE 6, NO. 2 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 0
Southern California 000 000 000 - 0 7 3 Oregon State 300 020 10x - 6 13 0Currier, Rummonds (7), Williams (8) and Concepcion. Nicholson and Ingram. WP-Nicholson (11-2). LP-Currier (10-2). 2B-Carter (OSU). HR-Biles.
HITS: Southern California 7 (Davidson 1x4, Barre 1x4, Concepcion 2x4, Persell 1x4, Lunetta 1x3, Peavey 1x4), Oregon State 13 (Ingram 1x5, Biles 2x4, Barden 1x4, Jarvis 2x4, Carter 3x4, Hudson 1x3, Gordon 1x3, Stark 2x4). RUNS BATTED IN: Southern California 0, Oregon State 6 (Biles 1, Carter 3, Stevens 1, Gordon 1).
So. Calif. 0 (38-17,17-6 Pac-10) Oregon State 6 (31-23,11-12 Pac-10) AB R H RBI AB R H RBI Davidson ss 4 0 1 0 Ingram c 5 0 1 0 Barre cf 4 0 1 0 Biles lf 4 2 2 1 Concepcion c 4 0 2 0 Barden 3b 4 1 1 0 Persell lf 4 0 1 0 Jarvis 1b 4 2 2 0 Lunetta dh 3 0 1 0 Carter rf 4 1 3 3 Peavey 1b 4 0 1 0 Stevens dh 2 0 0 1 J.Self rf/2b 4 0 0 0 Davis ph 1 0 0 0 Moon 3b 3 0 0 0 Hudson ss 3 0 1 0 Brewster 2b 1 0 0 0 Gordon 2b 3 0 1 1 Montanez rf 2 0 0 0 Stark cf 4 0 2 0 Currier p 0 0 0 0 Nicholson p 0 0 0 0 Rummonds p 0 0 0 0 Williams p 0 0 0 0 Totals...... 33 0 7 0 Totals...... 34 6 13 6