BATON ROUGE, La. – Ryan Barnes safety squeeze in the sixth inning proved to be the game-winner and propel the 16th-ranked Oregon State baseball team to a 2-1 win over Belmont in the opening game of the Baton Rouge Regional Friday at Alex Box Stadium.
Joey Matthews doubled to open the sixth and moved to third when Tyler Smith grounded out to first. Michael Conforto was intentionally walked, leading to Barnes, who used a push bunt up the first base line on an 0-1 pitch. The ball stayed narrowly fair as it skidded down the line, hitting the first base bag. It was Barnes’ second hit of the game and sent the Beavers to their seventh consecutive NCAA Regional opening win.
The Beavers (39-18 overall) managed just three hits off Belmont (39-23) starter Chase Brookshire, with Barnes’ two leading the way. OSU left just four on base as it also drew two walks off Brookshire and Belmont reliever Josh Davis.
Oregon State opened the game’s scoring in the second. Barnes doubled to right and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Gorton. Barnes was then able to come in and score when Kavin Keyes hit a sac fly to right.
Belmont evened the score in the fifth. Dylan Craig opened the inning with a triple down the right field line and scored when Zac Mitchell grounded out to second for the second out of the inning.
Jace Fry started for the Beavers and did not figure in the decision after allowing four hits and a run in five innings. He struck out four and walked three before being relieved by Tony Bryant in the sixth.
Bryant went on to throw 1 2/3 innings of relief. He allowed one hit and got the win to improve to 6-2 this season.
Matt Boyd picked up his third save of the season with a scoreless 2 1/3 innings of relief. The lefty allowed just one hit while striking out three during that stretch.
Chase Brookshire started for Belmont and worked seven innings, allowing three hits and two runs. The lefty walked two and struck out three but took the loss to drop to 8-4 this season.
Alec Diamond let Belmont with two hits. Five of the Bruins’ six hits came with two hits but Belmont managed just one leadoff baserunner.
Oregon State will meet the winner of LSU and Louisiana-Monroe Saturday night at 5:07 p.m. PT (7:07 p.m. CT).
The game will also be carried on Comcast SportsNet Northwest (channels 37 and 737).
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.
OREGON STATE NOTES: The game marked the opener of Oregon State’s 13th all-time postseason appearance … Oregon State won its NCAA Regional opener for the seventh consecutive postseason trip … Pat Casey improved to 17-5 (.772) in NCAA Regional games … Michael Conforto served as the designated hitter for just the fourth time this season and Ryan Barnes batted in the cleanup spot for the first time … Conforto’s start at DH was his first since March 10 against Connecticut … Barnes’ last start was also that game … No other Beaver had started in left since then except Conforto … Tony Bryant’s appearance was his first since May 12 at Utah … OSU won its first game when scoring two runs or less … The Beavers are 1-11 when scoring two runs or less.