KJ Harrison, Oregon State

KJ Harrison congratulates Nick Madrigal on scoring. (Shotgun Spratling)


Oregon State Proving No. 1 Worth


LOS ANGELES — Oregon State’s two biggest offensive weapons, Nick Madrigal and KJ Harrison, were a combined 4 for 25 with six strikeouts and not much hard contact this weekend. The offense produced back-to-back five-hit performances after having five hits or less only three times in the first 33 games. The Beavers were out-hit 20 to 18 for the series and struck out 30 times.

On the pitching side, the ballyhooed return of righthander Drew Rasmussen did not happen. Freshman lefty Jake Mulholland blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning and saw his ERA nearly double on Friday, Saturday starter Bryce Fehmel lasted just 1.1 innings and the Beavers needed five relievers to try to get the final three outs on Sunday.

And yet…the Beavers proved they are a legit national title contender and why they are the No. 1 team in the country, finding a way to win a road series with a 2-1 victory at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday.

“One thing about this team is we’re really close-knit guys,” junior third baseman Michael Gretler said. “We believe in each other and we just kind of take the mantra, ‘Too tough to beat.’ No matter what happens, we’re too tough to beat and we’re going to go until the last out is recorded and we’re going to find a way to win.”

It was Gretler who again played hero for the Beavers (32-3, 16-2).

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