EUGENE — A fast start by the offense and an extended mound stay for Bryce Fehmel was just the recipe Oregon State needed to stay on top of the Pac-12 baseball standings.
The Beavers did all their scoring in the first three innings and Fehmel produced his second complete game of the season Friday night in a 4-1 Civil War win against Oregon in the three-game series opener at PK Park.
Fehmel, a senior right-hander, allowed eight hits, the one earned run and a walk with four strikeouts.
“Getting out on top early is always huge and then my job is to put up a zero after they score,” he said.
The Beavers (32-4-1, 18-4 Pac-12) and Ducks (23-23, 8-14) meet in game two at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Fehmel was coming off five-inning start against Oklahoma State in which he gave up six hits and five earned runs in five innings. That followed two starts in which he gave up a combined two earned runs in 13 ⅓ innings.
Fehmel (7-1) threw 93 pitches against the Cowboys. Friday, he was at 82 through seven and 92 through eight. He finished with 112.
“Bryce was being Bryce, the competitor that he is. How well he adds and subtracts pitches,” Beavers coach Pat Bailey said. “You watch him warm up … you just look and go, how is that guy 33-7? He just shows up every time he pitches. He’s very professional in how he goes about his business.”
Oregon brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning after two straight one-out singles. But Fehmel ended the game with a grounder and a strikeout.
Spencer Steer had three hits and Robert Ahlstrom pitched the first 8⅓ innings for Oregon, which has seen its NCAA tournament hopes fade away with 10 losses in the last 12 games.
Beau Philip opened the game by sending the second pitch from Ahlstrom over the left field fence.
Oregon came back with an immediate rally, getting runners to second and third with one out on two hits in the bottom half. But Fehmel got a strikeout and a popup to end the threat.
The Beavers added two more on consecutive hits from the bottom third of its lineup. Doubles by Preston Jones and Kyler McMahan produced the first run and Andy Armstrong’s single the second.
“We know what they’re capable of and it’s nice to see some of the guys relax at the plate and do what we know they can do,” OSU’s Adley Rutschman said.
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After Fehmel sent Oregon down in order for the first of two straight times in the second, an Ahlstrom throwing error on Jake Harvey’s bunt and Rutschman’s single to center got OSU started in the third. Ryan Ober followed with a double-play grounder but a run scored to make it 4-0.
Oregon got a leadoff single from Steer in the fourth before McMahan went chasing a one-out Jonny DeLuca fly ball in center field.
McMahan ran hard to his left and caught up with the ball to make a diving catch, then started a relay that turned into an inning-ending double play at first base.
The Ducks found some momentum in the sixth, with a hit batter and back-to-back singles by Steer and Tanner Smith getting the home team a run with no outs.
But Fehmel smothered any sparks Oregon had found, getting the Ducks to put three balls in the air and the Beavers got back to the dugout with no more damage.
Oregon State made changes to its regular starting pitching rotation this weekend.
Dylan Pearce is slated to start Saturday, while a Sunday starter against the Ducks is to be announced.
Fehmel has been the Saturday (or second-day) starter for all seven Pac-12 series this season plus last weekend’s nonconference series against Oklahoma State. Brandon Eisert, a junior lefty, has started the series opener the last seven times.
Grant Gambrell, a junior right-hander, started six straight series finales before sitting out last weekend to get rest. Gambrell lasted a career-best 8⅓ innings in a home win against Washington State a week earlier.
Bailey said Tuesday he expected Gambrell to pitch this weekend. Pearce, a senior righty, got his first career Division I start against Oklahoma State, allowing eight hits and five earned runs in five innings.
Bailey said in his pre-game radio interview Friday that Eisert and Gambrell have some arm tenderness and that the team is being careful with them.
After the game, the coach said he doesn’t expect Eisert or Gambrell to start this weekend, though they could come on in relief.
Philip played his first game at shortstop since a hamstring injury in the April 9 nonconference home game against Oregon. Philip, a junior transfer in his first year with the Beavers, then missed the next 13 games before filling the designated hitter spot last weekend in the final two home games against Oklahoma State.
Philip started the first 31 games of the season at shortstop.