Aztecs starter Philip Walby matched Boyd pitch for pitch until Oregon State (6-0) was able to put together a two-out rally in the eighth inning. Danny Hayes singled home Max Gordon and later scored on a Dylan Davis double to provide all the scoring for the game.
San Diego State (3-2) had its chances, but couldn’t get to Boyd. The Aztecs botched an opportunity in the third inning when they had runners on the corners with no outs (see The Game Changer below). They also put together a two-out rally in the seventh inning to load the bases, but after a mound visit, Boyd got Avondre Bollar to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
The Game Changer:
In the bottom of the third inning, San Diego State had a golden opportunity against Boyd. Right fielder Avondre Bollar led off with a double down the left field line and moved to third (where he was somewhat questionably held by the third base coach) on a shallow single by Jonathan Spirk. With its nine-hole hitter batting, San Diego State elected to have Evan Potter show bunt. For five straight pitches Potter showed bunt and then pulled the bat back, running the count full without Potter even considering a potential swing.
After Potter fouled a couple pitchers off, Boyd struck him out with an off-speed pitch down and away. On the 3-2 pitch, Spirk took off for second base. Oregon State catcher Jake Rodriguez fired a laser to second base, nailing Spirk by a good five feet. Leadoff hitter Denny Sheehan dribbled a ball to first base that Danny Hayes flipped to Boyd for an easy out to end the inning without San Diego State being able to dent the scoreboard.
Beavers head man Pat Casey talked about the psychological effect coming away empty handed had on the Aztecs: “When you’re not scoring a lot of runs, like neither one of us were, you’re looking to get going. They only had one [run] last night, so I feel that kept them from getting momentum.”
Best Defensive Play: In Oregon State’s final at bat, the Beavers tried to add an insurance run or two against reliever Justin Hepner. With a man on first base and one out, left-handed hitting Andy Peterson hit a chopper up the middle to the second base side. The ball appeared destined to get through with Aztecs second baseman Tim Zier playing further in the 1B/2B hole.
But shortstop Evan Potter ranged far to his left, lunged and grabbed the ball. Potter made a nifty flick of his right foot to tag second base before firing to first base for the double play.
Best Pitch: Matt Boyd (2-0) was phenomenal throughout the night so I can’t pinpoint just one of his pitches. He mixed all four of his pitches well and said he felt all four were working. Not only was he getting the movement he wanted, but he spotted up almost all of his pitches and he stayed down in the zone. Of the 25 outs he recorded, only four were fly balls. He also had a career-high nine strikeouts.
His 117-pitch performance reminded me of the way former Beaver Josh Osich pitched the day he no-hit UCLA in 2011. Both did a great job Van Gogh-ing the outside corner and using an extra inch or two off the plate when the umpire gave it.
Oregon State senior LHP Matt Boyd talks about how Oregon State grinds out wins by taking it one pitch at a time:
Beavers head coach Pat Casey discusses the pitcher’s duel between Boyd and Philip Walby as well as Oregon State’s 6-0 start in Southern California:
San Diego State junior RHP Philip Walby was outdueled by Oregon State’s Matt Boyd, but he was still able to crack a smile after pitching the best game of his San Diego State career:
- Matt Boyd – 8.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, BB, career-high 9 K
- Max Gordon – 1-for-3, R, BB
- Danny Hayes – 1-for-4, GW RBI
San Diego State
- Philip Walby – 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, career-high 9 K
- Justin Hepner – 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, K
The Bottom Line:
Wow. What a great game. Both pitchers were on top of their game and both had the best outings of their collegiate careers. While we’ve seen flashes of brilliance from both Walby and Boyd, there were still some question marks. Coming from primarily relief roles the past two seasons, neither had shown the extended dominance they did Friday night.
Walby was happy with his performance, but not the outcome. It wasn’t his fault. San Diego State has to do a better job of producing runs with some clutch hitting. The Aztecs wasted a great no-out, scoring opportunity in the third inning (see The Game Changer above) and couldn’t get a big hit with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
As has been noted by others, this San Diego State squad looks a lot different than it did last year. However, there are still situational execution issues that have to be corrected. While they were minor in this game, that’s the difference playing well and beating a top 10 team…the difference between a strong team and the No. 6 team in the country.
On the flip side, the Beavers just continue to find ways to win. Boyd was tremendous and helped save the Beavers bullpen from extended duty, which is a valuable commodity with the team playing eight games in nine days and being without a couple of arms due to injury. The offense has struggled some to begin the season, but should be potent when it rounds into shape and gets back the versatile Ryan Barnes from injury.
The two teams continue the series Saturday with a 1 p.m. game and finish the four-game set on Sunday beginning at noon.
Also check out the 15-shot photo gallery from the game.