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All Aboard! Series win over ASU has Beavers back on track

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Let's face it, we were all disappointed with series losses to USC and UCLA. I mean, we had some tough luck against USC, but those were winnable games that we let go away. And UCLA? The Beavers had six errors in the series, and just didn't seem to show up with their best effort.

But I'll take a series win against Arizona State any day of the week.

The Beavers weren't flawless against the Sun Devils, but they did enough to win the series. The starting pitching could have been better, and the offense faltered at times, but there was enough good pitching and enough clutch hitting to get it done.

ASU's Mike Leake dominated much of Friday's Game 1. Once the Sun Devil offense provided him with four runs of support, he was on cruise control. By the time the Beaver offense finally found its rhythm in the ninth inning, it was far too late.

Oregon State used late-inning heroics with more success on Saturday night, when Koa Kahalehoe's base hit to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded won the game for the Beavers. The game had been tied at two for several innings until ASU took the upper hand in the top of the ninth with one run. Koa's RBI, the second run of the OSU ninth, served as the stronger counterpunch.

The two wins greatly enhance Oregon State's resume, and will significantly help come Selection Monday at the end of this month. However, there are still nine Pac-10 games left, with six of them (UW, Stanford) on the road. As for non-conference games, the Beavers will play Portland this Tuesday, Gonzaga twice, and Oregon twice.Here's how the Pac-10 conference sits after Sunday's games:

Arizona State, 16-5
UCLA, 13-8
Oregon State, 11-7
Washington State, 11-7
Washington, 10-8
Stanford, 10-11
USC, 10-11
Arizona, 8-13
California, 6-15
Oregon, 4-14

The Beavers moved up a spot from fourth to third by way of defeating Arizona State twice, and are two weeks away from going head-to-head with Washington State. UCLA, who defeated the Beavers earlier in the season, has California and Arizona State left to play.

The past weekend has put the Beavers in a very favorable position in the conference standings, and has given them the ability to move up (or down) easily, with a additional key wins in the upcoming series' against Washington, Washington State, and Stanford.

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)