The Arizona Wildcats worked their way through the Pac-12 last season by out maneuvering their opponents at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats dinked and dunked their way to a league title in their cavernous ballpark, hitting hard ground balls, reaching on infield singles and using small ball as a way to win big.
Friday night, in the Wildcats' conference opener, Oregon State gave the UA a taste of its own medicine in a 6-2 setback.
The Beavers pounded out 14 hits - 12 singles - and used the big field to their advantage all night. Max Gordon, the first batter of the game, reached on an infield single, and the Beavers put pressure on the Wildcats defense for all nine innings - forcing two errors and reaching on two other fielder's choices while perfectly executing three hit-and-runs.
"They're a good team, and a good team can execute," Wildcats catcher Riley Moore said. "A philosophy we've always had is 'it's not a gamble, if you can execute.' They did that well tonight. They didn't botch one hit-and-run. They were putting everything in play.
"They showed they are a quality team."
The Beavers (17-1, 1-0), ranked No. 3 in the country, had never played at Hi Corbett before Friday, but they had a clear strategy to try to use the park to their advantage.
"We know the ballpark is going to play big, and it's quick," Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. "It's a different environment for us. We don't play on this type of field very often.
"We knew we were playing the defending national champions, and I just thought our guys battled."
Casey's squad got to Arizona starter Konner Wade immediately.
After Gordon's single, Wade plunked No. 2 hitter Tyler Smith. Michael Conforto then went away from the game plan a bit and hammered a three-run home run to left-center field.
Wade gave up three in the first, two more in the third and a final run in the fifth. His final line was 5 2/3 innings pitched, giving up 12 hits, six runs - all earned - and striking out just one.
"The big thing that stands out to me is (Wade had) no secondary pitch," Moore said. "He was just living off his fastball. As good as his fastball is, in the Pac-12, you have to have a secondary pitch and he didn't have that tonight."
Oregon State starter Matt Boyd, on the other hand, had it all working.
The senior left-hander went seven innings, giving up two runs on two hits and striking out six. He retired the final 13 batters he faced.
"You have to give credit where credit is due; I thought Boyd pitched very well," Wildcats coach Andy Lopez said.
"He did a good job with his secondary stuff and made good pitches to the meat of our lineup."
Arizona (15-6, 0-1) had just four hits in the loss. Johnny Field was 1 for 4 with the team's lone RBI. The bottom five hitters in the Wildcats lineup combined to go 0 for 16.
"I thought we were a little flat today," Moore said. "We need to come out with more fire tomorrow and let them know it's not going to be easy sweeping in Tucson. We're the defending national champions, and we're a good team working to be a great team."
The two teams will meet again today at 6 p.m. Junior James Farris will start for the Wildcats.