Bryce Fehmel and Adley Rutschman were the difference makers on a long day of baseball at Goss Stadium.
Fehmel whirled a one-hitter in the opener of Saturday’s twin bill while Rutschman came through with another late-inning go-ahead double in the nightcap, sending the second-ranked Beavers to a sweep of Hartford. Game scores were 5-0 and 5-4 before an announced crowd of 3,376.
The Beavers (11-0) have won 20 consecutive home games, the longest active streak in the country, entering Sunday’s 12:05 p.m. series finale. But all three victories against Hartford (1-6) have been anything but easy.
“Man, they play hard,” OSU coach Pat Casey said of the Hawks. “They defend, they pitch, they compete. They are a good club and we’re a good club, so that’s why these have been good games.”
Fehmel (3-0) struck out four with no walks en route to his third career complete game. A Zachary Ardito bloop single was Hartford’s lone hit off Fehmel.
The junior right-hander set the first 13 Hawks down in order and faced just two over the minimum. Fehmel, who did plunk a batter with two outs in the ninth, lowered his ERA from 4.05 to 2.42.
“I was honestly feeling like I was behind some of the batters I shouldn’t have been behind, so that made it more difficult,” Fehmel said. “But having a good feel for all my pitches definitely made it easier on myself, and probably the defense, too.”
Rutschman was the hero of Game 2, roping a two-RBI double down the right-field line that plated Joe Casey and Cadyn Grenier to give OSU a 5-4 lead in the seventh. The Beavers trailed 4-1 midway through the game and 4-3 entering the seventh.
It was the second clutch hit in as many days for Rutschman, who also had a go-ahead two-RBI double in the seventh Friday night as OSU came back for a 3-2 win.
“It was a fastball and I was just able to kind of get around on it,” said Rutschman, a switch-hitter who belted Saturday’s game-winner from the left side. “I don’t know if he was trying to go in, but it ended up being middle-in and I was able to turn on it and pull it down the line.”
Rutschman’s Friday heroics — a screaming line drive off the wall in left — came from the right side.
OSU seized control of the doubleheader’s opening leg with a three-run bottom of the first.
Steven Kwan worked a leadoff walk and Grenier was then hit with an errant curveball from Hartford starter Billy DeVito. Trevor Larnach followed with a two-RBI double to right and Rutschman singled home Larnach for a 3-0 lead.
DeVito (0-1) was a mixed bag in a near-constant drizzle, striking out eight with four walks and two hit batters in four innings of work. The righty gave up three runs on five hits to take the loss.
The Beavers, who stranded 10 runners in the win, made it 4-0 in the seventh when a Tyler Malone grounder got through Hartford first baseman Chris Sullivan. Rutschman scored from second on the play.
One inning later, Kwan reached on a two-out single and scored when Grenier tripled to the gap in right-center.
But Fehmel didn’t need the insurance.
“He’s just really good all the time,” Pat Casey said. “He just constantly comes out and pitches and competes and throws the ball where he wants, and that makes a big difference.”
Kwan finished 2 for 4 in Game 1 with two runs scored to pace the Beavers.
Hartford got to work early in the finale, taking advantage of three Kevin Abel walks to grab a 3-0 first-inning lead.
Abel, a freshman making his first college start, lasted five innings and surrendered five runs on four hits while walking five and striking out four. He did not factor into the decision.
Michael Gretler made it 3-1 in the second with a solo home run to left-center. It was the first round-tripper of the season for the senior infielder.
After Ashton Bardzell led off the fifth with a bomb to left, the Beavers came right back with two in the home half.
Troy Claunch singled home Preston Jones, who got things started with a double to left. Claunch later scored on a Grenier blooper to no-man’s land in shallow left-center to trim Hartford’s lead to 4-3.
OSU took the lead for good two innings later on Rutschman’s double.
Brandon Eisert (1-0) picked up the win after throwing 2⅓ innings of scoreless relief. Jake Mulholland pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save of the year.
After the game, Pat Casey confirmed that star infielder Nick Madrigal will miss four-to-six weeks with a left wrist injury. Due to HIPAA, Casey would not elaborate on the specifics of the injury.
“He’s doing everything he can to get as healthy as he can as quick as he can,” Casey said. “That’s the situation and we look for him to have a full recovery and do a great job for us.”
Earlier this week, D1baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers reported that Madrigal, the 2017 Pac-12 player and defensive player of the year, has a fractured wrist.