Oregon St. third baseman Ryan Dunn had already had a good day with the glove, but capped off the afternoon in the bottom of the 10th, with the game tied and the bases loaded, when he delivered a shot in the gap in left center that diving Stanford center fielder Jake Stewart couldn't come up with. It scored Joey Matthews, and allowed the Beavers to claim the 5-4 win, the series, and the tie-breaker against the Cardinal, whom they are tied with for 5th place in the Pac-12 race with 3 weekends left to go.
It also got Dunn a pie in the face in the post game press conference, something he'll probably gladly take every game if a game winning hit goes with it.
As they had in each earlier game this weekend, Oregon St. took the lead, only to see Stanford rally after failing to extend the lead despite numerous opportunities. The Beavers took a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning, when Michael Conforto walked, and then both Dunn and Ryan Gorton singled. But as would happen time and again as the afternoon wore on, Oregon St. stranded both Dunn and Gorton.
The lead grew to 3-0 in the 2nd inning, when Matthews was hit by a pitch, and scored on Ryan Barnes' double, and Barnes in turn scored on a single by Tyler Smith, which ended the day very early for surprise Stanford starter Sahil Bloom. Bloom, who had the third most appearances of any Cardinal pitcher, made his first start instead of the scheduled John Hochstatter, who had had a rough outing his last time out, and was pulled early in what was eventually a 8-5 Stanford loss at San Jose St. last Tuesday.
The Cardinal switched to A.J. Vanegas, and that was the that as far as any more early Oregon St. scoring was concerned. Vanegas got Stanford out of the inning with a ground out, and allowed only 1 hit over the next 3 innings.
But Vanegas lost his touch in the 5th, hitting Jake Rodriguez with a full count pitch, and then walking Danny Hayes. That prompted Stanford to pull left fielder Stephen Piscotty in to pitch, and the move proved to be highly effective. Piscotty, who had a 2-1 record, and an ERA of 2.53 went the rest of the way, which was something of a surprise, as he had only worked 17 2/3 innings in his 10 prior pitching appearances.
He was able to escape trouble time and again though. Oregon St., who had already left 2 on in the 5th, left the bases loaded in the 6th, and 2 more on in the 7th, before finally getting what would turn out to be an immensely important insurance run in the 8th.
Ryan Dettman, who was running for Danny Hayes, who had led off with a single, and advanced on a Matthews sacrifice and a wild pitch, scored when Tyler Smith laid down a perfect squeeze bunt.
However, the Beavers again stranded 2 runners in scoring position, leaving it a 4-2 game going to the 9th inning. 5 of the runners in the 5th and 6th had reached base without putting bat on ball, on 4 walks and a hit batter, but none of those "extra" base runners were pushed across, and by the end of the day, Oregon St. stranded 15 total runners, one of the more extreme cases of what has been a season long problem of not being able to push in runners and put games away that they should be cruising to wins in. This was the 9th consecutive game in which Oregon St. has scored first, but they have lost the lead in 5 of them.
Stanford had pulled within 3-2 in the 6th when Tyler Gaffney scored on Piscotty's single when Oregon St. catcher Ryan Gorton couldn't handle Conforto's throw from left. Piscotty in turn scored on Brian Ragira's single.
Oregon St. starter Dan Child had otherwise been solid, and turned the game over to the "Killer Bs" of the Beaver bull pen in the 8th, when Matt Boyd took over, after giving up only 4 hits and 3 walks against 5 strikeouts in 7 innings.
Boyd got a double play to breeze through the top of the 8th, but the 2 run margin disappeared quickly in the top of the 9th. Boyd hit Stanford's Austin Wilson to start the inning, and after 1 more ball, Oregon St. turned to Tony Bryant.
Bryant gave up a single to Alex Blandino, and a sacrifice, and then a run when Wilson scored on an infield ground out. Bryant was within a strike of closing out the win, but Kenny Diekroeger singled to drive in Blandino, proving Oregon St. coach Pat Casey correct in his pre-game prediction that it would take more than 4 runs to win today.
Piscotty then put the Beavers down in order to force a 10th inning.
Bryant got Ragira to ground into a double play to erase Piscotty's single in the top of the 10th, and then the Beavers finally put an to the game that had baked the largest crowd of the season, 2,795, for over 3 1/2 hours in the brilliant spring sun.
Matthews singled with 1 out, and Dylan Davis followed up with another single. Smith flied out to left on his attempt to drive in the winning run, and Conforto didn't get a chance to deliver the game winning RBI, as Piscotty delivered a very careful walk to the Beavers' leading RBI man, to load the bases for Dunn, Oregon St.'s cleanup hitter.
Dunn doesn't hit behind Conforto for no reason, though, and delivered the game winner.
Bryant got the win, improving him to 5-1 for the year, and in a fashion, the "Killer B's" did get the job done, though not as elegantly as Beaver Nation would have liked. Piscotty dropped to 2-2 with the loss.
Oregon St. (30-15, 11-10) became the 4th Pac-12 team to reach the 30 win plateau this season, and denied Stanford (29-14, 11-10) that honor.
The Beavers and Cardinal trail conference leading Oregon (34-14, 16-8) by 3 1/2 games, after the Ducks defeated Arizona (30-15, 13-8) 3-1 in Tucson today. Oregon St. visits Oregon for a non-conference game at PK Park Tuesday at 6 PM in the next action for both teams. It will be the second battle of this year's baseball Civil War, with both teams ending the regular season on Memorial Day weekend with their Pac-12 counting series in Corvallis.
The Beavers prevailed over the Ducks 7-1 on April 24, in their first meeting, on a sterling pitching performance by Taylor Starr, who will probably get the start again this week.
Arizona remains in second in the Pac-12 race, 1 1/2 games behind Oregon. Arizona St. (29-17, 14-10) moved past UCLA into third place, after defeating last place Utah (12-33, 6-18) 4-2 today in Tempe to complete a weekend sweep of the Utes.
Oregon St. will travel to Salt Lake City after the game with Oregon to take on Utah next weekend, with games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all at noon MDT (11 AM PDT). The Utes share the same field with the AAA Salt Lake City Bees of the Pacific Coast League, and the Bees have the evening use of the stadium, in a series of day-night double headers of a different sort.
UCLA (31-13, 12-9) fell to fourth in the conference race, 2 1/2 games back, and also lost the final game in their non-conference series against Purdue 15-11 today, after the Boilermakers scored 10 runs in the top of the 9th inning.
Washington (26-18, 11-10) joins Oregon St. and Stanford in a 3 way tie for fifth, after the Huskies completed a weekend sweep of USC (22-21, 7-13) in LA today with a 5-0 win. California (25-19, 9-12) beat Washington St. (23-20, 9-11) 8-0 today in Pullman, pulling the Golden Bears within 1/2 game of the Cougars in their battle for 8th place in the conference race.