Dawgs Use April Fools' Card, OSU Wins Tight Series 2-1 At The Very End

Caleb Brown with the winning run in game 1, executing a suicide squeeze perfectly. The catcher drops the ball, ends up on his back while the Ump jumps for joy; they love getting to make these calls. Jayce Ray (behind Ump) is stoked as well. (Photo by Sean Smith)

Game 24, Double Header 1: Saturday, March 31st | Gametracker | Box Score | 10th Inning Video

(16-7, 3-1) -----UW - 3 | 7 | 0 | 5

(15-8, 4-3) #20 OSU - 2 | 5 | 1 | 7

W - Tyler Kane (1-0), L - Tony Bryant (3-1)

Game 23, Double Header 2: Saturday, March 31st | Gametracker | Box Score | Season Statistics

(16-8, 3-2) -----UW - 0 | 7 | 0 | 8

(16-8, 5-3) #20 OSU - 9 | 15 | 0 | 8

W - Dan Child (3-1), L - Tyler Davis (2-1)

Game 25: Sunday, April 1st | Gametracker | Box Score

(16-9, 3-3) -----UW - 3 | 7 | 0 | 10

(17-8, 6-3) #20 OSU - 5 | 5 | 3 | 3

W - Jace Fry (2-1), L - Austin Voth (4-1)

Monday Links:

This series followed the script as they would say, with every major point talked about between Building The Dam and I showing itself seemingly. Aaron West and the bullpen lead the way for an extra inning, game one win in the Saturday double header, only to drop the final two following a momentum change that swung the entire series. The Dawgs never bounced back after the Beavers rose up, a testament to youth, but a learning experience every team will - and must - go through. These up and downs are to be expected in conference play, and if the Dawgs go .500 in the Pac-12 it will be a successful season, putting them on the bubble to the postseason as well.

Weather Conditions

This entire series was played under threat of a downpour. Very few fans were in attendance, even though the announced attendance was over 1k each game from season tickets sold but unused. The Friday night contest was PPD and added to Saturday for a double header to start the adventure, even though the forecast said they were foolish to even try. They had a break in the rain just long enough for game one Saturday miraculously, game two Saturday was cold and wet, while the finale Sunday was rain-delayed two hours, started at first break and was finished amid many moments of heavy rain throughout. Only northern baseball teams would have played in those conditions, with one Beaver almost sustaining an ankle injury and one hurting an arm... Another example to add to the "Arguments for cheap retractable roofs / tarps with duct tape on PVC pipe over NW ballparks" list.

I am not trying to beat a drum about this, because baseball isn't meant to be played in inclement weather, but the Dawgs, once again, lost a split-second of bat speed when the cold and rain set in. This has developed into more than a theme now- it is a trait, and I have the film to back it up. In the first game, they had sunshine - a tiny bit of warmth only - and no rain to distract. The weather decided one nice game was enough, to the detriment of the Dawgs, and the bats slowed down noticeably.

Combine that with the steady diet of change-ups being thrown suddenly, and Washington looked hesitant at the plate from then on. OSU stayed with the change-ups until they didn't work; they worked, confusing the Dawgs enough to keep them from sitting on fastballs and unloading, instead having to read first en route to a weak, late swing.

Series recap to follow...

Series Recap UW @ OSU: 1-2 wins, 1-1 saves, 6-16 runs, 21-25 hits, 0-4 errors, 0-3 homeruns

Right now, the game one win looks huge. It saved the series from being a complete loss- obviously, I know, but it must be pointed out. The Diamond Dawgs executed the small ball agenda, put the game in motion constantly, fielded well - committed 0 errors over the weekend to up the fielding % to .983 - and had a great approach at the plate, with 7 hits each game; runs were the problem. Things went well for the Dawgs in the first inning of every game, which is a good sign for them, for they are 5-2 when scoring in the first inning, 10-3 when scoring first.

Ray singles, Meggs sac-bunts, next hitter gets RBI. I have probably written that more in regards to Washington scoring recaps than any other combination. Meggs is in the top-20 nationally for sac-bunts while Ray is up there with triples. Pehl received the RBI this time, driving a double down the RF line to take the lead at first chance, 1-0 Dawgs. Pehl would go 0-12 afterwords, tho.

OSU grabbed their first run in the 4th inning after Aaron West went another game shutting down the opposition in order the first time through their lineup, 1-10 this time with six ground outs and two strikeouts. I cannot explain how much West has meant to the Dawgs so far; his consistency has become expected, as well as seeing him gone and drafted after the season if he keeps this going all year long. 1-1 Dawgs until the 10th, when this happened- I edited a video of the inning into a bite-size morsel, enjoy some Washington extra frame clutchness.

The mood after game one was decidedly different than how I feel right now; there was a great chance to win the series, only having to take one of the next two with a mostly rested bullpen behind Davis and Voth, who were both pitching well coming in.

Oregon State had a 3-0 lead going into to the 5th after scoring 2 in the bottom of the 4th. The Dawgs answered immediately by loading the bases with no outs for Afenir, Ray and Meggs to get something across. Dan Child rose up tall here, and proceeded to completely swing momentum into the OSU court all by his big self: he struck out Afenir swinging on an 0-2 count, got Ray to pop out to 3B with the first pitch seen by Jayce then struck Meggs out swinging in a 1-2 count. After that OSU was pumped, and the series never felt the same with the Dawgs looking deflated afterwords according to people in the stands.

UW was shut down by the OSU pitching staff and rocked by a lineup not considered to have big run scoring potential in game two, in a pitching meltdown by Tyler Davis and Steven Swift, dropping the blowout 9-0. With the way Dan Child was pitching for the Beavers, the game looked over after the choke, and with the bullpen needed for Sunday, Steven Swift came in for TD after 4 2/3 for the final 3 1/3 innings. Davis allowed 5 runs, Swift 4, all earned runs on very hard hits by OSU including two homeruns and four doubles. The Beavers shelled any pitcher we put on the bump who was below 90 mph all series long.

Swift was pegged to be a potential starter before the season, but has given up 13 hits and 7 earned runs over 13 innings in 4 appearances so far. Following up Davis, a mid-80's control arm with another, slower - low-80s to high-70's say the reports - control arm in Swift was an... odd I will say... move by the coaching staff. Curious as to why they pegged Swift to go after Davis, with all the arms they had to choose from... Going with a power arm one time through the Beaver lineup and then going with Swift to finish the game might have been a better move; hindsight is always 20/20 though.

How the Diamond Dawgs respond to adversity throughout the rest of the season will determine whether they make the postseason or not; they have the talent to reach the regionals, the question is do they have the mental toughness? I am not questioning their mental toughness or whether they have it or not; merely stating they are going to need it in the weeks ahead if they want to achieve the goals they have set. This is the Pac-12, even Utah will be a much tougher out than Saint Joseph's, for example. They did show up to win on Sunday, playing very well in every facet save one: scoring earned runs and hitting the ball before the 9th inning.

As much as it hurts after leaving the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the 9th of game three, down 5-3 with the hot bat of Brown up to bat with the game and series win on the line, they were only in position to win because of Beaver mistakes earlier in the game. Having 6 total runs all weekend and zero earned runs in the last 18 innings is why the Dawgs lost this series, not the 9th inning of game three and a horrible called strike three on Caleb Brown. The .gif shows the catcher framed it well...

Brown_bs_k_call_medium
Caleb was ejected for saying something the ump didn't like - according to the play-by-play it was him - after his good eye watched a fastball almost hit him yet still get called to give the Beavers a critical second out, all but sealing the game right there. Horrible, you had every right to chew him out Caleb - but still should have held it to not getting ejected - he called an uneven game all afternoon, calling pitches based on the weather, not in a consistent strike zone. This fact was mentioned by both Beaver and Dawg fans; the series was another Pac-12 officiated affair...

OSU practically gift wrapped the Sunday contest with 3 errors early in the game, allowing the Dawgs to go up 3-2 after only 6 Washington outs. Usually when an opponent commits three errors and you outhit them committing zero errors yourself, you win... Beavers LF Conforto had a huge series after a quiet game one, blasting a HR in each of the final two. I still don't know why they even pitched to him. His two-run HR in the 1st inning of game three was his only hit in the game, but it proved to be the decisive hit that kept the Beavers in it, and eventually they won by two runs. Voth gave him a belt-high fastball down the middle, which earned him a visit from Coach Dangler, who did not look very happy...

Voth settled down after that until he gave up two more in the 5th, putting the Beavers up for good 4-3, giving him his first loss. Voth may have given two free passes and a single to load the bases, but Adam Cimber gave up the winning hit in his only batter faced. To his credit, it was one of the top-five hitters in the country, Tyler Smith - who also hit the cover off the ball - that hit the game-winning single on a ground ball up the middle.

Live and learn, they will be stronger for this. Analysis is being written as you read this, I have film of the entire weekend and want to provide some clips and images as well this time around. This post would be insanely long if I tried to fit three games of analysis and a summary in...

Winning Facts

The Dawgs are now 6-2 vs. LHP and 13-2 when committing zero errors, after coming in 5-1 and 12-0 respectively. Another series without an error, with the offense turning to ice this time around in the two losses. Even with great defense and good pitching you have to score to win: 23 Dawgs were stranded on base for the series.

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