Keaton Smith’s walk-off homer in the 10th inning pushed Nevada past the the defending national champion No. 2 Oregon State Beavers 7-6 on Tuesday.
Smith had the scouting report from his teammates, he jumped on a first pitch fastball and launched over the parking lot in left field. He was cooled down on a 74-degree day with an ice bath crossing home plate.
“I had a lot of good input from my teammates telling me what to look at,” Smith said. “I was just ready to go and got a good pitch. It was a rush of emotions.”
The Wolf Pack swept the two-game series after an 8-7 victory in the 12th inning on Monday night. Dating back to 2012, Nevada’s last five games against OSU have gone to extra innings.
The Beavers took a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth inning off a two-run blast from Joe Casey. Nevada knotted the contest with a two-run, three-hit inning before walking it off in the 10th.
“I credit the resilience of our team,” Head Coach T.J. Bruce said. “We just kept chipping away and the resilience to be tied after the ninth, that could have really crumbled for us.”
Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman made his Reno debut, finishing 5-for-11 with a double and two RBIs in the series.
Rutschman is ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 prospect in the upcoming 2019 MLB Draft. The switch-hitting backstop is a threat at and behind the dish. He generates power from either side and comes equipped with a of an cannon arm from the squat.
The junior catcher flashed the ability to hit the ball to all sides of the field. He legged out a double off a one-hopper to left in the third inning. He laced a pair infield singles to right field from the left side in his two next at-bats.
Nevada recorded 11 hits. Daniel Perry went 2-for-4 with a homer. Weston Hatten and Connor Allard each recorded two RBIs apiece.
Southpaw Dalton Gomez got the start for the Pack, pitching 4.1 innings with four earned runs and four strikeouts. Grant Ford picked up his second-straight win of the season.
“Our bullpen really has stepped up this series,” Bruce said. “Grant Ford pitched tremendously in that (10th) inning and everyone had each other’s backs on the mound.”
Oregon State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Jake Harvey’s solo shot to left field put the Beavers up 3-0 in the second. Nevada stranded runners on second and third in the bottom of the third inning.
Ryan Ober’s RBI single pushed the Beavers’ lead to 4-0 in the fifth. The Wolf Pack knotted the game 4-4 with a four-run, four-hit fifth inning highlighted by Keaton Smith’s solo shot to left field.
Both teams were scoreless for the next three frames before chaos ensued in the ninth inning. Joe Casey’s two run blast over the scoreboard in right field put the Beavers up 6-4. Nevada responded off a throwing error to score Otis Statum Jr. from third.
Smith’s homer in the 10th sent the season-high 1,120 fans in attendance home happy.
Nevada hits the road to Colorado Springs, Colorado to face the Air Force Falcons on April 26.