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Lennerton's homer lifts No. 8 Beavers in 11th inning

CORVALLIS — Jordan Lennerton's home run in the bottom of the 11th inning lifted eighth-ranked Oregon State to a 9-8 win over Southern California in Pac-10 Conference baseball Saturday at Goss Stadium.

Mike Lissman's two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning tied the game, and Eddie Kunz pitched the final 51/3 innings to earn the win for OSU (25-7, 2-4 Pac-10).

Lennerton drove the first pitch from USC closer Paul Koss over the left-field fence to give the Beavers the series win over the Trojans (19-14, 2-4 Pac-10).

Southern Cal took an 8-6 lead with a six-run sixth inning.

"We showed a lot of character," said OSU coach Pat Casey. "Things haven't been going our way, and sometimes you need little things to change some situations; obviously, we've been struggling and hopefully this will springboard us into the next week and getting after the next Pac-10 series."

Lennerton's homer dropped Koss — who has 12 saves this season — to 2-2 this spring. It was Lennerton's second homer of the season, and it was OSU's first walkoff homer since Shea McFeely's shot that beat Ohio State in the opening game of the 2005 NCAA Corvallis Regional.

"This is a huge win," Lennerton said. "It would have been pretty tough to come back from 1-5 (to start Pac-10 play). Today's win was huge to keep our egos up and stay positive."

Kunz improved his record to 2-0 while pitching a career-number of innings, topping the 32/3 innings he pitched at Sacramento State last season. The junior right-hander allowed one run on two hits and one walk while striking out five.

"I came in the game and Spence told me, 'I'm going to leave you in there as long as I can,'" Kunz said. "I said, 'I'll be finishing this game.' I just kept my confidence up and it really helped that my guys were right behind me all the time defensively. I'd make my pitches and hopefully they'd throw ground balls right to people."

Kunz allowed a run on one hit in the top of the eighth inning and a two-out double in the ninth, but also recorded nine groundouts. He retired seven of the last eight hitters he faced, striking out three.

"I was just working my tail off to show I can throw extended innings, short innings, it doesn't matter," Kunz said "I wasn't going to come out of that game until they came out and got me, and they probably would have had to drag me off the mound.

"I was fine with Lennerton ending it, though."

Lissman's homer — his fourth of the season — followed a double by Darwin Barney down the left-field line, and those two-out hits against USC reliever Hector Rabago in the eighth inning were the spark the Beavers needed. Lissman pulled a no-ball, one-strike pitch down the left-field line and it banged off the foul pole to tie the score at 8-8.

"As soon as I hit it, I kind of leaned back a little bit," said Lissman, who finished 3-for-6. "I leaned with it, and the wind was good for it. All through the lineup, we had a great day. Darwin Barney was just trying to make something happen, Mitch Canham was staying through balls and driving in runs. It was big for us."

Canham was 2-for-6 with three runs batted in, Drew George was 2-for-4 with two doubles, one RBI and three runs, Lonnie Lechelt was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs and Barney's double extended his hitting streak to nine games.