Oregon St. completed their first Pac-10 series sweep of the season, and only their second in four years, with their third walk-off win over Oregon of the weekend. Rob Folsom's drive off the center field wall scored Stefan Romero for a 6-5 Beaver win, negating another game tieing top of the ninth inning Duck rally. Oregon had scored three runs Saturday to force extra innings, and pushed four runs across Sunday to tie the game at 5-5.
That was the extent of the scoring until the bottom of the sixth inning though, when the Beavers needed two pitches to take the lead. Folsom doubled, and Jared Norris' single on the next pitch drove in Folsom.
Folsom singled to drive in Jones for a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning, and it looked like the Beavers had blown the game open in the eighth inning when Norris and Carter Bell both homered off Oregon's Scott McGough, who took over for starter Zach Thorton after two hitters reached base in the sixth inning.
The homers surprised everyone, including Oregon coach George Horton, as it was Norris' first homer of the season, and only Bell's second. Further, they were only the second and third homers McGough has surrendered.
It raised the Oregon St. hit total to 12 for the game (they finished with 14), after the Beavers had managed only 10 hits in 21 innings in the first two games of the series.
In a position to trade runs for outs, the Beavers sent starter Sam Gaviglio, who had allowed the Ducks only three hits up to that point, out to try to get the complete game victory. Seven singles later, Serna's RBI tied the game, and forced Oregon St. coach Pat Casey to pull Gaviglio.
Pitching coach Nate Yeski visited the mound after Jack Marter's bases loaded single drove in Pulfer, but decided to leaf Gaviglio in, and a strike out of Paul Eshleman followed. But Shawn Peterson delivered another RBI single before Steven Packard got caught in a rundown trying to score.
Curtis Raulinaitis singled in another run before Serna's single tied the game.
Gaviglio got a no decision for 8 2/3 innings of work, and Matt Boyd got the win after facing one batter, getting pinch hitter Nick Wagner to ground out on his second pitch. It was Boyd's (6-1) second relief win of the weekend, having picked up Saturday's win as well.
Gaviglio had been solid, but hardly dominant, getting the majority of his outs on 14 Duck ground-outs. Santos also helped out with a couple of spectacular snags in center field.
Oregon St. avoided extra innings for the first time this weekend though, scoring in the bottom of the ninth inning. Dillon Jones walked, and moved to second on Romero's single, but was then thrown out at third.
Casey lifted Danny Hayes, who had already hit into two inning ending double plays, and struck out with two on another occasion, for pinch hitter Andy Quiring. But Quiring's bunt only led to lead runner Jones being erased.
Folsom wasn't interested in small ball, or extra innings, though, driving Duck reliever Drew Gagnier's pitch for his third hit of the game to thrill the Mothers' Day crowd of 2,823, and deliver the Civil War sweep. Gagnier (0-2) took the loss.
"We should have won without having to go the bottom half of the ninth, but we will take a win and an important series sweep," Casey commented. "The offense really supported Sam, and we had a number of guys who stepped up at the plate."
The win improved Oregon St. to 24-17, 7-11 in the Pac-10, and dropped Oregon to 30-18, 10-11 in the Pac-10 standings. The Ducks entered the weekend ranked fifteenth in the nation, but will fall after dropping four straight games. The victory was also Casey's 700th. career collegiate coaching win.
The sweep win could be a season saver for Oregon St., who had been swept by both the bay area schools earlier in the conference season, and had lost four straight, including the first, non-conference meeting of the season with Oregon, and last week's Pac-10 series against Cal.
"I'm proud of our club for the things we've talked about the last three weeks," Casey added. "Not getting down, not letting anybody tell you that you're not good, or that you're finished. That's been our whole MO. We were highly motivated for this series."
The San Diego Toreos (30-16, 15-0), leaders of the West Coast Conference and ranked 22nd. before adding three wins this weekend, visit the valley this week, taking on Oregon St. Monday afternoon, and then Oregon on Tuesday. The Beavers' next Pac-10 action will be a home series with Washington (25-22, 8-10), who lost 7-6 to UCLA today, starting next Friday at 5:30. Saturday's 2 PM game will also be televised by Fox Sports Northwest.