A very controversial call at third base facilitated something the No. 3-ranked UCLA and No. 17 Oregon State baseball teams couldn't accomplish through the first 15 innings of their Pacific-10 Conference marathon at Goss Stadium on Saturday.
It led to two 16th-inning runs and a 3-1 victory for the Bruins. Catcher Steve Rodriguez's two-run, bases-loaded single to right field was decisive in the 6-hour, 23-minute battle, the longest - by time and by innings - game in the 11-year history of the stadium, which opened in March 1999.
The Bruins (24-3, 3-2) and Beavers (20-7, 3-2) each had plenty of opportunities to prevail before the decisive 16th. But UCLA's Garett Claypool and OSU's Ryan Gorton, who matched zeroes from the 12th-inning on, each escaped numerous jams until Gorton's number came up in the 16th.
"Our pitchers did a great job in tight spots, and pitched out of them," OSU associate head coach Marty Lees said. "We had some missed opportunities and we need to come back (today), ready to go," at noon in the rubber game of the series.
Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 1.35 ERA) is OSU's starter, opposed by lefty Bob Rasmussen (4-0, 2.95).
"The No. 3-ranked team in the country is in our house, and we need to come ready to play," despite the shorter-than-expected turnaround, Lees added, "because they're going to come ready to play, too."
Brett Krill singled to start the pivotal 16th, was sacrificed to second and then sprinted for third on Beau Amaral's tapper to the right of the mound. Gorton fielded the ball cleanly, turned and made a quick, low throw to Stefen Romero in an attempt to retire the lead runner.
The ball easily beat Krill to the bag and press box television replays from several angles appeared to show Romero applying the tag before Krill's left hand touched the bag. However, umpire Pat Riley called Krill safe and the Bruins had runners at the corners with one out instead of two outs and a runner at first.
Coach Pat Casey rocketed out of an outraged OSU dugout and was subsequently ejected for arguing with Riley. A walk loaded the bases and Rodriguez delivered his fourth hit of the game to break the tie. Claypool retired OSU in order in the home half for the win.
Casey politely declined comment afterward, to avoid any possibility of a Pac-10 reprimand. Lees also declined to comment.
UCLA coach John Savage said the game went so long that strong starts from his Trevor Bauer and OSU's Tanner Robles were almost forgotten.
"Both teams had plenty of opportunities," he said, praising each staff's ability to "make big pitches when they need to."
"This game was one hit away from being over about 10 times. It's just too bad that somebody had to lose."
Each team had runners thrown out at home in extra innings and UCLA stranded 10 runners, the Beavers nine from the 10th through the 15th. Each had chances to score the potential winning run from third with less than two outs in that span.
UCLA left 22 runners on base, the Beavers 17. The Pac-10 record is 23, set by Arizona State against Chapman in 1979.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on Tyler Rahmatulla's RBI groundout. OSU threatened every inning thereafter and finally tied the game 1-1 on a double by Danny Hayes and a single by Parker Berberet off UCLA closer Danny Klein in the ninth. It was the first run Klein had allowed in 20 2/3 innings this season.
OSU's best chance to win came in the 10th, when it loaded the bases with one out with Berberet - the team's RBI leader with 24 - at bat. However, he hit into a force play at the plate and Gorton struck out.
"We also had a couple baserunning errors early," Lees said. "It wasn't a lack of effort. But the effort needs to go into the game as far as being tough and getting after it."
Gorton pitched seven innings in a victory over Portland this past Tuesday and added 4 1/3 on Saturday.
"I'm very, very impressed with Gorton," Lees said. "Our pitchers did a great job. We missed a lot of opportunities at the plate. We had runners in scoring position a lot. We need to capitalize on that."
UCLA 3, Oregon State 1 (16)
UCLA 000 010 000 000 000 2 - 3 14 0
OREGON STATE 000 000 001 000 000 0 - 1 11 2
Bauer, Klein (8), Grace (11), Claypool (12) and Rodriguez. Robles, Nygren (7), Rhoderick (7), Boyd (9), Bryant (9), Sitton (10), Gorton (11), Waldron (16) and Berberet. WP: Claypool (4-1). LP: Gorton (3-1). 2B: Gallego (UCLA), Keefer (UCLA), Krill (UCLA), Rodriguez (UCLA), D. Hayes 2 (OSU), Romero (OSU), Smith (OSU), Folsom (OSU).
Hits: UCLA 14 (Rodriguez 4, Gallego 2, Keefer 2, Espy 2, Krill 2, Williams, C. Giovinazzo). OSU 11 (D. Hayes 2, Folsom 2, Santos, Romero, Smith, Berberet, Bell, Norris, Jones).
RBIs: UCLA 3 (Rodriguez 2, Rahmatulla). OSU 1 (Berberet).