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Beavers beat Belmont 2-1 with three hits

BATON ROUGE, La. - It's one down, and a more difficult one ahead for the Oregon State Beavers.

OSU turned three hits into a 2-1 win over Belmont Friday in their opening game of the NCAA playoffs.

Now the Beavers have to potentially face the No. 2-ranked team in the country, LSU. The Tigers were playing Louisiana-Monroe in Friday night's second game at the regional at their Alex Box Stadium. OSU's next game will start at 5 p.m. PT Saturday.

The Beavers advanced into the winners' bracket thanks largely to the work of starting pitcher Jace Fry and relievers Tony Bryant and Matt Boyd. They combined on a six-hitter, with Fry coming out after five innings when the left-hander told coach Pat Casey that he "felt something" in his pitching arm.

"We weren't going to take a chance on him,' Casey said. 'I think he's going to be fine, but he felt something and wanted to talk to me about it.

"I said, 'No talking, you're coming out.' '

The Beavers (39-18) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Ryan Barnes doubled to right field, got to third on Ryan Gorton's sacrifice bunt and scored on Kavin Keyes' sacrifice fly to right.

Belmont tied the score in the fifth, after a leadoff triple.

The winning run came in the sixth. Joey Matthews opened with a double and moved to third base on a ground out. After an intentional walk to designated hitter Michael Conforto, Barnes' safety squeeze up the first-base line brought home Matthews.

Belmont (39-23) allowed only three hits, two by Barnes. Starter Chase Brookshire (8-4) lasted seven innings, walking two and striking out three. OSU left only four men on base.

Fry gave up four hits and one run. He struck out four and walked three.

Bryant (6-2) allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings. 

Boyd picked up his third save of the season with a scoreless 2 1/3 innings. The lefty allowed one hit and fanned three. 

It was the seventh consecutive regional-opening win for the Beavers. The victory lifted Casey's regional record to 17-5.