Oregon State baseball teams have played 1,478 games since the diamond now known as Goss Stadium at Coleman Field first opened for business on April 12, 1907.
No more than a handful were pitched better than the masterpiece spun by Greg Peavey on Friday night, considering the quality of the opponent and what was at stake.
Spurred on by a season-high crowd of 2,517, the junior right-hander from Vancouver, Wash., was dominant in the 17th-ranked Beavers' 4-1 victory over No. 3 UCLA in the opener of their Pacific-10 Conference series. He allowed just two hits, struck out six, and retired 16 of the final 17 Bruins in order in his second career complete game.
"It was a great challenge, they're a great team," Peavey said of UCLA (23-3, 2-2), whose Friday lineup featured two players hitting over .400, two more hitting .360 or better, and a collective .358 average. "I had to focus in. I couldn't make too many mistakes and my defense played absolutely amazing."
The Bruins hit several balls to the warning track early, but once Peavey found his rhythm he was almost untouchable. UCLA's hits were an excuse-me hit-and-run single by Justin Uribe in the fourth, and a knuckling line-drive by Cody Regis in the seventh that somehow evaded Stefen Romero's glove at third base.
Peavey faced just four batters over the nine-inning minimum, and added another outstanding bullet point to his growing Friday-night starter resume. He allowed just three hits and one run over seven innings against USC in OSU's Pac-10 debut on April 1, and is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last six starts.
"He threw the ball where he wanted, he mixed pitches and competed his tail off," OSU coach Pat Casey said. "Believing you're a Friday-night guy, and pitching on Friday night, are two different things.
Casey said he's told Peavey that his arm is just as good as former star Dallas Buck's, who helped the Beavers compile a 13-3 record in Pac-10 series openers during the 2005-06 Pac-10 championship/College World Series seasons. Now, Peavey is developing the same mindset.
"You don't win on Friday night just by having good stuff," Casey said. "You have to want to pitch on Friday nights. That's the warrior mentality.
"He's starting to believe. Sometimes you have to have some success in order to believe and trust in yourself."
Peavey and UCLA ace Gerrit Cole battled to a 1-1 standoff through six innings. However, Cole was lifted after throwing 124 pitches and OSU loaded the bases with none out in the seventh on a double by Michael Miller and back-to-back hit batsmen by reliever Mitchell Beacom.
Erik Goeddel was brought in to face Parker Berberet, and Berberet drilled a 2-1 slider that one-hopped into the fence in left-center. Miller, Romero and Andy Quiring scored and Peavey protected the lead by fanning four of the final six Bruins.
"I wanted to stay off the breaking ball down," Berberet said. "I was sitting fastball somewhere up, he got it in over the plate, and I got a double."
Berberet drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of OSU's 4-1 win at USC on April 1, and had the lone RBI in a 1-0 victory over Tennessee on Feb. 28, Peavey's other complete-game victory. He also drove in OSU's other run on Friday with a bases-loaded walk in the first inning.
"I love it; I thrive in situations like that," said the transfer from Cypress (Calif.) College, who now has 23 RBIs in only 79 at-bats. "I just try to get in there and help my team."
Added Casey: "He's hitting very well. For us to have the right guy at the plate at the right time was big."
The series resumes at 2 p.m. today. Righty Trevor Bauer (6-1, 2.28) is UCLA's projected starter, opposed by either lefty Tanner Robles (4-3, 2.38) or righty Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 1.35).
"We have a long ways to go the rest of this weekend because they are a heck of a team," Peavey said. "We have to come out and battle (Saturday and Sunday), but it's a good win tonight."
Added Casey: "Our fans made it a tough place to play, it was a great crowd, and our guys fed off that energy. It's one game, but it's a big game. Good teams show up all the time.
"We'll find out what our club is made of" the rest of the weekend. "Today we talked about courage, about taking a stand, about all the things you have to do in athletics. If you play (the series) on paper, we get beat."
Oregon State 4, UCLA 1
UCLA 000 100 000 - 1 2 0
OREGON STATE 100 000 30x - 4 6 0
Cole, Beacom (7), Goeddel (7) and Rodriguez. Peavey and Berberet. WP: Peavey (3-0). LP: Beacom (1-1). 2B: Miller (OSU), Berberet (OSU).
Hits: UCLA 2 (Uribe, Regis), Oregon State 6 (Berberet 2, Miler, Romero, Norris, Bell).
RBI: UCLA 1 (Regis), Oregon State 4 (Berberet 4).