LOS ANGELES – Ryan Dunn homered and Michael Conforto drove in two to pace the Oregon State baseball team to a series-opening 5-3 win over USC Friday night at Dedeaux Field.
Dunn hit the first pitch in the eighth inning over the left field fence to give the Beavers a two-run, 4-2 lead, cushion. The shot came off reliever Nigel Nootbaar and marked OSU’s first hit off the right-hander since he had entered in the fifth inning.
The home run was Dunn’s sixth of the season; all have been solo shots.
OSU added another run in the inning when Jake Rodriguez drove in Joey Matthews in from third with a single to the right center gap. Matthews had tripled with one out in the inning.
Conforto drove in runs in both the first and fourth innings for his team-leading 16th multiple-RBI game of the season. He tallied two hits to extend his hit streak to a season-long 11 games.
Dunn singled in the first and doubled in the ninth to finish the game 3-for-5 and lead the club offensively. Rodriguez, Max Gordon and Ryan Barnes all had two hits for the Beavers, who finished with 12 overall.
The offense came in support of Oregon State (28-12 overall, 9-7 Pac-12 Conference) starter Ben Wetzler, who worked 6 2/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out seven. He improved to 5-2 this season, picking up his first win since March 17 at California.
Oregon State opened the game’s scoring for the 24th time this season. Conforto drove in Gordon on a ground out to second, and Ryan Gorton grounded out to short, scoring Tyler Smith, and giving the Beavers a two-run advantage.
Conforto added to the Beavers’ lead with a run-scoring single to right in the fourth. The RBI was Conforto’s Pac-12 leading 54th of the season.
USC (20-17, 5-10) got on the board and pulled to within one in the sixth. Matt Foat and Jake Hernandez each drove in runs on doubles during the two-run inning.
Brandon Garcia started for the Trojans and threw 79 pitches before being pulled in favor of Nootbaar to start the fifth. Garcia took the loss to drop to 3-4. He allowed seven hits and three runs – just one earned – while issued one walk with no strikeouts.
Scott Schultz worked 1 1/3 innings of relief, striking out one, before giving way to Matt Boyd in the ninth, who record his second save of the season. The Trojans managed a two-out run off Boyd before he was able to shut the door.
Hernandez had three hits – including two doubles – to pace the Trojans.
Oregon State continues its series with USC Saturday at 2 p.m. PT at Dedeaux Field.