#12 Stanford (29-12, 11-8) at Oregon State (28-15, 9-10) at 1:00 PM PDT at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field - ROOT Sports NW, Fox Sports Net, & CBS College Sports - KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM - Audio & Video Stream on Beaver Nation Online, for a fee
Stanford and Oregon St. continue their series with a sold out Saturday afternoon showdown. Fortunately for those without tickets, the game is being televised by ROOT Sports Northwest.
Last night, what started out as a tremendous pitchers duel between Oregon St.'s Ben Wetzler and Stanford's Mark Appel turned into anything but. A scoreless duel for almost 7 innings, the Beavers finally broke through when, with 2 out, Max Gordon got his third hit of the night, a season high, Tyler Smith followed with an RBI double, and Michael Conforto came up with an RBI single, and Oregon St. had a 2-0 lead.
It was an ever so brief advantage, however, as the Cardinal came right back with 3 runs in the 8th, and made it 8 unanswered runs with 5 more in the 9th to pull away for the 8-2 win.
When Oregon St. had the 2 run lead, and even after they had fallen behind by only 1 run, it looked like the several scoring opportunities they had failed to capitalize on earlier, including when they ran them selves out of their best of several chances in the 6th, when Conforto led off the inning with a double, but was thrown out at the plate on an ill-advised decision to try to score on a grounder with the Stanford defense drawn in, would be the Beavers' downfall.
But that didn't turn out to be as pivotal as the pitching carousel that struggled to control the Cardinal in their last 2 at bats.
Wetzler worked out of a couple of early scrapes, but generally pitched well, matching or even out-producing Appel, the probable #1 pick in the MLB draft next month (Wetzler had 1 more strike out and allowed 2 fewer hits, though he did walk 3, and Appel none), until he went past the 100 pitch point. Once that happened, in the 8th, Stanford's Stephen Piscotti and Brian Ragira delivered back to back singles, which signaled the end of Wetzler's evening.
Oregon St. opted to go to Ryan Gorton, and it was a huge mistake. Austin Wilson tripled off the wall in right center to tie the game, and Alex Blandino doubled to score Wilson, and give Stanford the 3-2 lead.
Scott Schultz threw 1 pitch to get a bunt popup, Matt Boyd got a strikeout, and Cole Brocker did too to end the at bat, but the Cardinal's A.J. Vanegas got the Beavers in order in the bottom of the 8th, and then Stanford proceeded to blow the game wide open in the top of the 9th. with the 5 insurance runs.
In an example of the vagaries of baseball scoring, Appel got the win, his 7th of the year against only 1 loss, despite the fact that he left the game with the Cardinal down 2-0 (because Stanford scored the 3 runs before anyone went back to the mound for them), and Vanegas got a save in a game his team won by 6 runs (because all but 1 run of the margin came after he took over).
Wetzler didn't figure in the decision, with the loss charged to Gorton, who hadn't pitched since the games in Reno.
It took Oregon St. 6 pitchers out of the bull pen to get the final 6 outs, while allowing 8 runs, and get out of the night, including the first appearance by Matt Fielding since the San Diego St.
On a slightly positive note, Danny Hayes, out since tearing the labrum in his shoulder against Washington, returned to action for the first time. However, Hayes went 0 for 4, with 2 strikeouts, and is still expected to need surgery after the season.
Overall, it was an impressive job of finishing the game by Stanford, and a disappointing melt down on Oregon St.'s part, one that makes a bounce back similar to what the Beavers delivered against UCLA in their last home series almost imperative.
The victory pulled Stanford into a tie for third in the conference with UCLA. The Bruins have the conference bye this weekend, with a double header today against visiting Purdue, and a third game against the Boilermakers tomorrow.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12, conference leading Oregon opened a 1 1/2 game lead with an impressive 6-1 win over Arizona in Tucson, and Arizona St. kept pace with Stanford with a 5-3 win over Utah.
Washington white-washed USC 7-0, and Washington St. whipped California 10-4.
Stanford is scheduled to send junior LHP Brett Mooneyham (5-4, 3.98 ERA) to the hill today, and Oregon St. will counter with freshman LHP Jace Fry (4-3, 2.25 ERA).
Mooneyham went only into the 5th inning, and didn't record any outs after the 4th, last Saturday against UCLA, allowing 6 earned runs in the Bruins' 7-4 win, despite allowing only 4 hits, and striking out 7. Mooneyham's undoing was issuing 4 walks, plus hitting 3 batters, including a walk and a hit batsman that forced him out of the game in the 5th.
Between that rough go and Mooneyham having a bout of the flu, the Cardinal instead called on junior RHP Dean McArdle (3-1, 4.06 ERA) come game time. McArdle came on as the third Stanford pitcher last Saturday, and allowed only 1 hit and 1 walk in the last 2 innings at UCLA.
Fry also took a loss last Saturday, when USC edged the Beavers 3-2. Fry worked 7 2/3 innings before handing the ball over to Cole Brocker, after allowing only 6 hits, against 6 strikeouts. Fry's undoing, ironically, also came as a result of hitting a batter, after recording 2 strikeouts in the bottom of the 5th, and then issuing a walk, which allowed the Trojans to score twice to come from behind on a pair of singles.