Oregon State’s Garret Forrester blasted an eighth-inning grand slam to highlight a 14-hit attack as the No. 2 Beavers outlasted Arizona 12-9 Friday night in Tucson, Arizona.
OSU took control of the game with a seven-run eighth inning. Tied at 5-5, Jake Dukart gave the Beavers the lead with a two-run single. Four batters later, Forrester cleared the bases with a grand slam to left-center.
Oregon State (40-9, 19-6 Pac-12) improved its odds of winning the Pac-12 title for the first time since 2017. The first-place Beavers maintained a three-game lead over second-place Stanford with five games remaining. Oregon State has won eight consecutive games, and 13 of its last 14.
Wade Meckler went 4 for 5 with two doubles, Jacob Melton had three hits, including a solo homer, and Forrester drove in five runs to lead Oregon State’s offensive attack.
OSU’s offense worked over five Arizona pitchers, as the Beavers had 26 batters safely reach base. In addition to 14 hits, Oregon State drew 10 walks, while two batters were hit by a pitch.
Oregon State ace Cooper Hjerpe had his roughest outing of the season, giving up seven hits and five runs over 4 2/3 innings. Ben Ferrer (3-0) relieved Hjerpe and pitched into the ninth to get the victory.
The Beavers’ defense was unusually sloppy, as two errors led to two unearned runs.
The win could potentially come at a cost, as right fielder Justin Boyd left the game in the sixth inning with a hand injury. Boyd was hit by a pitch, resulting in a large welt on his left hand. Boyd, who hits second in OSU’s lineup, is batting .343 with 43 RBIs this season.
Oregon State got its offense going in the third inning. Trailing 2-0, the Beavers scored four runs on two infield groundouts, a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk. One inning later, Melton hit a solo homer to left-center to increase OSU’s lead to 5-2.
Arizona produced a three-run fifth inning to tie the game at 5-5. It stayed that way until the eighth, when Oregon State sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored seven runs. With the bases loaded and one out, Dukart cracked a single to right to score two and give the Beavers a 7-5 lead. A bases-loaded walk by Meckler made it a three-run lead. Two hitters later with two out and the bases loaded, Forrester hit a grand slam, the first of his career, for a 12-5 OSU lead.
Ferrer gave up two hits, both solo homers, during a 3 2/3-inning stint. Ryan Brown got the final two outs to close out the win.
The second game of the OSU-Arizona series begins at 6 pm Saturday.
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