Trent Sellers, Oregon State’s senior right-handed pitcher, has pitched big games before. Gone the distance. He’s struck out more batters than he did Friday night. And faced more hitters.
But he hasn’t yet thrown with the stakes this high, on a stage this large. The Beavers entered the Baton Rouge regional at Alex Box Stadium absent two of their three top arms.
If they want to carve a path out of Baton Rouge and into the super regionals, they needed Sellers not only to pitch well against Sam Houston State — statistically, one of the country’s top offenses — but also to throw deep into the game to save their relievers for the rest of the weekend.
And the senior delivered: Across 7 ⅓ innings of work in the Beavers’ 18-2 win, Sellers allowed only three hits and two runs, struck out five and walked only one, teaming up with the Oregon State hitters to bludgeon Sam Houston State.
The No. 2-seeded Beavers recorded 22 hits, cranked four home runs and smacked three doubles, with the heart of the lineup accounting for most of the damage. Oregon State’s third, fifth and sixth hitters — Micah McDowell, Gavin Turley and Mikey Kane — combined for 15 RBIs. Every starter recorded a hit, and seven notched at least two.
“Trent made a great adjustment moving the ball back down in the zone,” Oregon State coach Mitch Canham said, “and then also landing his off-speed. I thought his change-up was really good today. And his composure was off the charts. Watching him go that deep into a game, it's something that I’m excited to watch him go out and do in a big game like that.”
Sellers didn’t get off to a great start. Sam Houston State’s leadoff hitter sent his second pitch into right field for a stand-up double. Then the next Bearkat hitter smashed his fifth pitch of the night over the left field bleachers to give Sam Houston State a 2-0 lead.
But after that, the Beavers’ offense responded, and Sellers found a groove. The right-hander didn’t allow another hit until he was pulled in the eighth frame, after he retired the final 19 batters he faced.
“And obviously having a couple of guys down right now can put you in a tight spot,” Canham said, “but it's also a great opportunity for other guys to step up and dominate the 0-0s and 1-1s. If we can do that like we have been preaching all year long, then guys go deep into the game and get outs.”
McDowell and Mason Guerra started the scoring in the first with back-to-back homers, a three-run blast over the wall in right-center and a solo shot into left field. Then Kane matched them two innings later with a two-run shot into the left-field stands. And Turley punctuated the scoring explosion in the seventh inning with a three-run moonshot that sailed high out left-field.
It was ample run support for Sellers, who found a rhythm with his changeups and success with pitches aimed at the bottom of the zone.
Oregon State will face LSU on Saturday night at 8 p.m., after the No. 3 Bearkats play No. 4 Tulane at 2 p.m.