CORVALLIS — Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis hit back-to-back home runs in a five-run first inning and Oregon State beat Kansas State 12-4 Sunday night to force a decisive third game in the NCAA super regional series.
The Beavers’ victory comes a day after Kansas State won the series opener, 6-2, in 10 innings.
On Sunday, Oregon State’s Tyler Smith and Kavin Keyes each had four hits and Oregon State (49-11) combined for a season high 21 hits. Andrew Moore, the Pac 12’s freshman of the year, allowed six hits and three earned runs over eight innings, striking out a season-high nine batters.
The Beavers scored five runs in the first off six straight hits. With two outs, Conforto and Davis blasted back-to-back line-drive solo home runs. Ryan Barnes then added an RBI single to chase Kansas State starter Blake McFadden (6-3), who lasted just 23 pitches and 2-3 of an inning.
Jake Rodriguez hit a two-run single to cap off a five-run first, then Davis kept things going in the second with a two-run single to give Oregon State a 7-0 lead. Kansas State’s Jared King got the Wildcats on the board with a solo home run in the second, but Moore (14-1) struck out five of the next six batters he faced.
“That was just huge, letting me kind of relax,” Moore said about the Beavers’ early lead. “Just getting that energy going early on, I think we definitely fed off that the whole game. The crowd was into it, the dugout was into it, and working off that just helped me relax and go out there and be aggressive early in counts.”
Oregon State added two more in the third when Max Gordon bunted home Barnes, and Smith followed with an RBI double to bring home Keyes — who scored four times.
Kansas State (45-18) scored twice in the fourth on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Austin Fisher and Jon Davis after the Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs.
But Andy Peterson had an RBI infield single in the fifth, Smith drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh and Oregon State tacked on another run in the ninth when Smith followed Joey Matthews’ double with an RBI single.
Kansas State added a run in the ninth when Mitch Meyer knocked an infield single with the bases loaded.
“The back-to-back home runs really got the crowd going and you could tell their team fed off that,” Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. “A freshman on the mound just got a little shell-shocked and couldn’t shut it down and that was pretty much it.”
Eight Beavers finished with multiple hits, and Smith and Davis each had three RBIs.
“Right now, it’s just about winning games,” Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. “We played well. I thought we did things well. We certainly strive for excellence. I don’t think any of our guys are satisfied with finishing second in anything they do.”
The deciding game is at 7 tonight, airing on ESPN2.