Auburn takes Game One in Corvallis super regional
Chris Lee • 6/12/2022 in Baseball
The 14th-seeded Tigers upended the No. 3 overall seed Oregon State late Saturday evening.
Sonny DiChiara photo courtesy of Jacob Taylor/Auburn athletics.
Auburn's bullpen duo of Tommy Sheehan and Carson Skipper combined for 6 1/3 scoreless innings of eight-strikeout baseball, as the Tigers won at Oregon State by a 7-5 score to move within a game of advancing to the College World Series.
Auburn survived Oregon State's four-run, first-inning outburst, evening the score at 4 after 1 1/2 innings. Auburn first baseman Sonny DiChiara provided two of those runs with a first-inning home run, while Nate LaRue (single) and Mike Bello (ground-out) provided the other two runs.
Brody Moore put the Tigers ahead for good in the third with a sacrifice fly to score Cole Foster. Auburn held on during an eventful ninth as closer Blake Burkhalter gave up a single, a double and a wild pitch that produced a run, but Burkhalter finished the evening with a strikeout with the tying run at the plate.
Neither team used its best starter on Saturday, with Auburn saving Joseph Gonzalez and the Beavers holding Cooper Hjerpe--perhaps the country's best pitcher--as well. Hjerpe started two Fridays ago in the Beavers' win over New Mexico State, and threw two innings to close the regional-clinching win over Vanderbilt on Monday. He was expected to start on Saturday but instead missed the game due to illness and it's not certain if he'll return.
Oregon State also hasn't thrown Jacob Kmatz, who started 15 games for the Beavers, or its three best relievers in Ben Ferrer, AJ Lafferty and Reed Sebby.
On Saturday, Auburn starter Trace Bright allowed four runs while lasting just 2/3 of an inning.
The Tigers have scored 58 runs over their last four games.