Stanford junior Colin Walsh did most of the damage in the Cardinal's 5-3 win over what will be formerly eighteenth ranked Oregon St. Saturday. Walsh got Stanford's scoring started with a two run triple in the fifth inning, and gave the Cardinal their winning runs with a two run homer off Tyler Waldron in the tenth inning.
Oregon St. started strong, taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning on Stefan Romero's three run homer. But the Beavers' offensive inconsistency continued to be their downfall, as OSU accumulated only six hits, and worse, again couldn't capitalize on opportunities when they did have them. The Beavers left eight runners on base, more than Stanford.
Oregon St. starter Tanner Robles went one out into the eighth inning before giving way to Waldron, who suffered the loss, dropping his record to 3-3. But Robles gave up a lead-off triple to Jake Stewart to start the seventh, and a sacrifice scored him to tie the game.The Beavers had a chance to win the game in the ninth inning, when Parker Berberet's grounder was mis-played, and the hurried throw that resulted produced the only error of the game, and put Berberet on base.
Ryan Barnes pinch-ran for Berberet, and got as far as third base with two outs, but was stranded there when Tyler Gaffney made a diving catch on Michael Miller's soft fly to right field.
With the game on the line in the bottom of the tenth inning, Cardinal reliever Alex Pracher (5-2) set Oregon St. down in order for the win, disappointing the crowd of 2,472 Beaver fans.
The win improved Stanford to 17-13, and 6-5 in the Pac-10 heading into the last game of the series today at noon at Goss Stadium. Sam Gaviglio will make his second start of the season for Oregon St.
It was the fourth loss in a row, and the second in extra innings, for Oregon St. (20-10, 3-5), and also the third series the Beavers have lost. The losing streak is the longest Oregon St. has suffered in five years.
"Everybody feels disappointed," Romero said. "Nobody wants to lose."
UCLA, after defeating OSU two of three times last weekend, dropped their second consecutive game 8-4 to Oregon Saturday, and there are seven teams clumped within one and a half games of each other, from third to ninth in the conference, behind Arizona St., and Cal, one game back.
The tight race keeps Oregon St. alive in the race, but with seven consecutive road games coming up after today's game, and three of the next five Pac-10 weekends on the road, this was a series the Beavers needed to not just win, but sweep, in order to have a chance at winning the conference.
"The great thing about this game is you get to do it over again tomorrow, and next weekend," Romero observed. "What we have to do tomorrow is just come out and play hard, play how Oregon State can play, and hopefully get out with a win."
It may be time to re-examine just how Oregon St. can play, though. The offense's inability to string clutch plate appearances together is the stuff of a second-division team. It might be time to shake up the batting order to try to find a combination that can break thru, even at the expense of some conceded innings.