This time, Davis prevented an epic fail by the No. 3 national seed Beavers in their opener of the Corvallis Regional. He smashed a one-out, first-pitch fastball into the gap in right center, scoring Tyler Smith and Michael Conforto, to lift the Beavers to a 5-4 victory over UT San Antonio, a team that came in seeded fourth in the regional after winning the WAC tourney.
A week ago, Davis scored the series-winning run in the bottom of the ninth against Washington State, putting the wrapping paper on the Beavers third conference title since 2005, but first since 2006.
Against the Roadrunners, the Pac-12 champions started slow, struggled to score runs for Friday night ace Matt Boyd, then avoided a disastrous opening to the regional they’re hosting.
With freshman Nolan Trabanino on the mound to start the game, UTSA (35-24) never flinched from the challenge of facing reportedly one of the best teams in college baseball. The Roadrunners led 1-0 for three full innings and 4-3 entering the ninth after taking the lead on an unearned run in the eighth.
Reliever Matt Sims threw the final 3 1/3 for the Roadrunners, walking Smith before getting one out on Andy Peterson’s sac bunt. Then Sims hit OSU’s Michael Conforto. After a brief discussion on the mound, Sims stayed in the game and Davis delivered the knockout punch the Beavers had been unable to land earlier.
“Matt is sometimes that typical closer type guy. He will have some big misses but he will come right back and get right back in the strike zone,” UTSA coach Jason Marshall said. “Unfortunately, I think he threw too good of a strike to end the game.”
Davis was sitting on a fastball, feeling that Sims had fallen into a pattern.
“He had been throwing for three or four innings and you kind of find a routine where he only threw two or three offspeed pitches,” Davis said. “You kind of recognize stuff like that when people fall into patterns. He was definitely doing that and I took advantage of it.”
As a result, the Beavers celebrated a big win.
“I wasn’t completely sure if Michael was going to score, but I saw him moving like I’ve never seen him move before,” said Davis of the winning run. He has been best friends with Conforto for a decade, playing high school and summer baseball as well as football together growing up around Redmond, Wash.
They will play Cal Santa Barbara in the winner’s bracket game, while San Antonio faces Texas A&M in a loser-out contest.
Davis batted 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Ryan Barnes had two hits, but the Beavers other four hits were spread out in the lineup.
RJ Perucki went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Roadrunners, who felt – and acted – confident most of the game.
“We felt like we were in control, but we gave them too many freebies, either by us hitting, bases loaded or a man on first base,” Perucki said. “We were one big hit away from blowing the doors off and getting a big lead.”
Four catches by Conforto in left field, two by Davis in right and two by Max Gordon in center kept those big hits from falling for the Roadrunners. Plus Boyd struck out eight and the Beavers recorded 10 strikeouts in all. Freshman Max Engelbrekt (5-1) picked up the win with an inning and 2/3 of relief.