CORVALLIS — UC Irvine sophomore left-hander Elliot Surrey pitched seven shutout innings and the Anteaters took control of the Corvallis region with a 14-2 victory over Oregon State on Saturday night in a second-round game.
Surrey allowed three hits, struck out eight and did not allow a Beaver runner to reach third before being lifted with after the first two batters reached safely in the eighth. Reliever Mitch Merten escaped a bases-loaded jam to preserve the lead and Irvine, the designated home team, scored eight times in the bottom half to remove all doubt.
Third-seeded Irvine (37-22) moved to within one victory of the tournament championship and a berth in the Super Regionals.
The top-seeded Beavers (43-13) will face UNLV (36-24) at 2 p.m. today in an elimination game; UNLV ousted North Dakota State 2-1 on Saturday afternoon to stay alive in the double-elimination event.
If the Beavers defeat UNLV, they will play Irvine again at 8 p.m. Sunday. If Irvine prevails, it wins the regional and advances to the Super Regionals. If the Beavers triumph, they’ll face the Anteaters again at 8 p.m. Monday in the championship game.
The Anteaters had just six hits against Oregon State starter Jace Fry (11-2), but scored six times. Four of those hits went for extra bases and they played small ball to perfection by scoring three times on squeeze bunts. Connor Spencer doubled twice, singled, drove in two and scored twice, Taylor Sparks homered, doubled and scored twice and Jerry McClanahan singled twice and drove in two for Irvine.
Irvine took a 6-0 lead into the eighth before the Beavers rallied. Logan Ice singled, Caleb Hamilton walked and both moved up a base on a groundout off reliever Sam Moore. Jeff Hendrix singled both home to make it 6-2 and the Beavers then loaded the bases with a base hit by Andy Peterson and a walk to Michael Conforto, bringing the tying run to the plate.
Merten relieved Moore at that point and retired Dylan Davis on an infield popper and Gabe Clark on a strikeout to end the threat. Kris Paulino’s grand slam capped the eight-run eighth that blew the game open, giving the Anteaters 24 runs in their two regional games.
It was the Beavers’ first loss in five regionals undercoach Pat Casey. The Beavers were 13-0 in five home regionals before Saturday, with 3-0 sweeps in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013 and Friday’s 2-1 victory over North Dakota State in this year’s opener.