Salem-News.com Sports - February 19, 2018 - 2:00 pm
No.15 Oregon State Completes Four-Game SweepSalem-News.com SPORTS
U steps away from competition next weekend, then visits Georgia for a three-game non-conference series Feb. 9th-11th.
KONA, Hawaii - Oregon State’s Lonnie Lechelt collected three hits, Mike Lissman homered and Anton Maxwell pitched five innings for the win as the 15th-ranked Beavers beat Hawaii-Hilo 10-2 in non-conference baseball Saturday afternoon at Simmons Field.
OSU (4-0 overall) completed a four-game sweep of the Vulcans (0-4) to open the season.
The Beavers, the defending national champions, reeled off the four wins after OSU’s early workouts were limited to sessions in the Merritt Truax Indoor Center.
With a host of new players being worked into both the pitching and position plans, the season-opening series gave Oregon State a chance to give everyone a look in game situations.
“I think everybody who was on the trip for us played, which was fantastic,” OSU head coach Pat Casey said. “It was great to get outside for the first time; we hadn’t even practiced on a field due to our (artificial) turf being put down, so that was good. The awareness of competition and how drastically better it’s going to be is also something I’m well aware of.
“I thought we did some things well. We pitched consistently, we played defense pretty consistently, I think we made some adjustments at the plate – that was all good. And any time you can pick up four wins on a weekend, you’ll take it, but we’re a long, long way from being the team that competes in the Pac-10.”
Lechelt’s three hits were his career high; the junior infielder had collected two hits both as a freshman (when both were home runs) and as a sophomore.
Lechelt also drove in a run and scored a pair of runs after he’d had a run-scoring single in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader.
Lissman’s home run was a drive over the fence in straightaway centerfield, a bases-empty blast that put the Beavers up 4-0 in the top of the third inning.
It was Lissman’s first homer since April 29th, 2005; it also served as a birthday present for his mother, Margie Yasuda, who was at the game.
“It just happened,” the senior outifielder said of the inadvertent gift for his mom. “After I hit it I was thinking of it, maybe, but before that I wasn’t. I was just trying to get a couple of hits. Mom was happy. Another lady went out there and had to wrestle some little kids for the ball, but we got it back for her.”
Maxwell notched his first victory since April 1st of last season.
The senior lefthander, who won 11 games as a sophomore, pitched five innings and allowed one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five.
Maxwell was followed to the mound by freshman lefthanders Alex Sogard and Blake Keitzman, freshman righthander Jorge Reyes and junior righthander Eddie Kunz.
Reyes and Kunz both struck out the side in their innings of work to finish the game.
Oregon State kept chipping away at the Vulcans, never scoring more than two runs in an inning but scoring in all but two innings.
The Beavers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Darwin Barney walked and eventually scored on Dale Solomon’s single to left. OSU made it 3-0 in the second as Lechelt singled home a run and Barney added a sacrifice fly.
After Lissman’s homer in the third, UHH picked up a run in the bottom of the inning when Ryan Taiariol doubled just inside third base and eventually scored when Shane Kessel grounded into a double play to close the gap to 4-1.
OSU got the run back in the top of the fourth when Barney walked with two out, stole second, went to third on a balk and scored on a wild pitch by Vulcan starter Kaiana Trask.
OSU tacked on two more runs in the sixth after Drew George and Lechelt singled, with the runs coming homne on Mitch Canham’s groundout and a Vulcan error.
The Beavers got another run in the seventh when pinch-hitter Brett Casey was hit by a pitch, went to third on Braden Wells’ single and scored on Jordan Lennerton’s sacrifice fly.
Oregon State’s final runs came in the top of the ninth after Koa Kahalehoe led off with a double to left-center.
He eventually scored on Lennerton’s groundout, then Lechelt came up with a two-out infield single and wound up scoring on Barney’s single up the middle.
Barney was the only other Beaver with more than one hit Saturday, going 2-for-3.
The series at UHH was Oregon State’s first four-game sweep since the Beavers took four in a row from the Vulcans in 2002 in Corvallis; that was also the last time that OSU had played a four-game series.
OSU won the Pac-10 title and advanced to the College World Series – winning it in 2006 – in each of the past two seasons, but Oregon State’s last 4-0 start had been when the Beavers won their first seven games in 2004.
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