CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State freshmen Jake Thompson and Trent Shelton combined on a two-hitter and the Beavers stretched their winning streak against Portland to 19 consecutive games with a 5-0 victory against the Pilots before a crowd of 2,342 at Goss Stadium on Tuesday night.
Designated hitter Gabe Clark doubled, singled, drove in a run and scored once and left fielder Michael Conforto drove in three runs for the Beavers (10-3 overall). They are 6-1 since suffering back-to-back losses to Nebraska and Michigan State in the first two games of the Aramark Pac-12/Big Ten Tournament at Surprise, Ariz., on Feb. 21-22.
A right-hander from Siuslaw High School in Florence, Thompson (3-0) had a career-high seven strikeouts; his former best was three, in a seven-inning stint against Pacific on Feb. 17 in his career debut. It was also a season-high for Oregon State pitchers and he became the first pitcher in the Pacific-12 Conference this year to notch three wins.
Caleb Whalen’s single to left field in the third inning and Kevin Wade’s single with two outs in the ninth were the only hits for the Pilots (2-10), whose last win against the Beavers was 20-13 in 12 innings at Goss Stadium on April 25, 2006. Oregon State has won 25 of the last 26 games in a series it now leads 159-60.
A lefty, Shelton relieved Thompson with a runner at first and no outs in the sixth. He immediately got a double play and then retired the next nine Pilots in order before Wade’s hit. He had three strikeouts and earned his first career save.
The Beavers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Michael Howard’s leadoff single and two two-out walks loaded the bases for Conforto, who drilled a two-run single into right field. Oregon State made it 5-0 in the fourth on an RBI double by Clark, an RBI single by Andy Peterson and a bases-loaded walk to Conforto.
Conforto moved into a first-place tie with A.J. Reed of Kentucky for the national lead in RBI (20). He walked twice and now leads the country in that category (15), and also took a double away from Whalen with a leaping catch against the left-field wall leading off the ninth inning.