Oregon State baseball's season ends with 4-3 loss to Auburn
Oregon State baseball managed to force a game three against No. 14-ranked Auburn with a win in Corvallis on Sunday night, but that's as far as the team managed to get. The Beavers were ousted from the College World Series hunt with a 4-3 loss on June 13, bringing the season to an end.
"Obviously when you pour everything in your mind, body and soul out there, in the weight room, in the classroom, in the clubhouse, to not have gotten the job done today is extremely painful for every one of us," Oregon State coach Mitch Canham told reporters after the game.
Oregon State outhit Auburn over the course of the game 8-3 and was walked four times to Auburn's three but couldn't convert into runs. The Beavers left nine runners stranded on base over the course of the game, runners who could have given them a crucial lead.
Oregon State never led in the game. Auburn took a brief 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning thanks to a two-run homer from Sonny DiChiara. The Beavers answered in the bottom of the inning thanks to a Wade Meckler RBI to bring Justin Boyd in for the score, making things 2-1.
That's where the score stood for two more innings. It was in the top of the sixth inning that Auburn scored the decisive runs. An error by Oregon State second baseman Travis Bazzana allowed DiChiara to score the Tigers' third run. Later in the inning, a sacrifice into a fielder's choice from Auburn's Brody Moore allowed Bobby Peirce to score.
In the seventh inning Oregon State got a pair of runs back when Boyd crushed a home run that scored him and Tualatin native Kyle Dernedde. Oregon State trailed 4-3 heading into the eighth inning, but that was as close as the Beavers would get.
A trio of Auburn pitchers recorded 14 strikeouts over the course of the game and committed just three errors, compared to Oregon State's pitching staff of Hunter, Sebby and Brown, who collected five strikeouts against four errors but gave up just three hits and two walks.
Canham was proud of the way his pitchers battled against the Auburn offense.
"They did a great job," Canham said. "Jaren (Hunter) was sinking the ball. Auburn capitalized on just a couple mistakes, I thought we minimized a lot of free bases. But a walk and then a homer, some timely hitting. Hit batter and then a double, then we make an error. A couple of small things. But overall Jaren Hunter threw the heck out of the ball. Sinking it down the zone, you're looking at it down the side and you're like, 'Dang, that is really dropping off.' I thought he was doing a great job with his changeup … even Sebby and Brown. Brown came in and looked electric right there at the end, that was fun to watch. He was getting everybody fired up … I thought the arms did a great job."
Oregon State finished the season with a 48-18 record, including a 20-10 Pac-12 record.
"Whether it's close or far, when you don't get it done, it makes you really mad, and it's going to motivate," Canham said. "I thought last year the motivation attached to traveling down to TCU and not getting the job done, that upset us pretty heavy. We went about it like there was a big chip on our shoulder and everyone wanted to get better. That's why you get better, but now this is that time we have to pick ourselves up and move forward. We broke through a different wall and we move one step closer. I already know what everyone's goals and aspirations are for next year. It's not about moving on, it's about going on and winning a World Series. That's what it's about every year. There's no veering off from that path."
After the game, Hunter and Boyd reflected on the time they spent building bonds with their teammates who played their last game on June 13.
"Their leadership the last few years has been really inspirational to see and it's really molded me over the course of the year," Hunter said. "I'm a completely different person than I was at the start of the year. I think that's a testament of the support of those guys, their leadership and believing in each other. Whenever we go out there as a staff, we know everyone else has got your back, you hand the ball to someone else and they're going to do their thing.
"It's difficult to see them go, but you learn from how they were and you try to be that for the guys next year."
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