Oregon St. jumped ahead of Washington St., and then held on for the series winning 7-5 victory Sunday in Pullman, setting some records along the way.
The Beavers flirted unsuccessfully with scoring early, but then took a 4-0 lead in the 3rd inning, when Max Gordon doubled to score Jake Rodriguez, and after Tyler Smith singled, Michael Conforto clouted his 13th home run of the season, which co-leads the conference. The 3 run blast gave Conforto, the Pac-12 RBI leader, 69 RBIs this season, the most ever bye a Beaver in a single season, breaking Joe Gerber's previous record on 67 in 2000.
The Cougars countered with 2 runs in the 4th, when a pair of sacrifices scored Taylor Ard, who had led off with a walk, and Derek Jones, who had reached base with a double.
Oregon St. got the runs back in the 5th, when Ryan Dunn's double drove in Conforto and Danny Hayes, but Washington St. clawed their way back within 6-3 on Collin Slaybaugh's RBI triple that scored Kyle Johnson a half inning later.
The Beavers got an important insurance run in the 6th on a Cougar error, but Washington St. pulled within 7-4 in the 7th when Jason Monda walked, and got to third on an apparent fielding mistake, where the Beavers threw the ball to the wrong base. A sacrifice scored Monda, making it 7-4, and setting up a tense last at bat for the Cougars.
Oregon St. starter Dan Child, who had gotten out of trouble multiple times with double play balls, turned in another good performance, but walked Patrick Claussen to start the 9th, and end Child's afternoon.
Matt Boyd came on and got a fly-out for the first out, but then walked PJ Jones, the hero of the Saturday game who hammered the walk-off grand slam home run off Boyd for the 9-5 Washington St. win.
Oregon St. played the matchup game, bringing in Cole Brocker, but moving Boyd to first base, which kept him eligible to return to the mound. Brocker got Johnson to ground into a fielders choice that erased Jones, but moved Claussen to third. Boyd came back to the mound, but Slaybaugh singled to left to make it 7-5.
The Oregon St. coaching staff opted to turn to freshman Dylan Davis instead of season long closer Tony Bryant with Ard at the plate, and the surprising move paid off when Davis got Ard to hit a grounder toward third that Dunn snared to end the game.
Child got the win, and Davis the save, his first ever, having thrown 2 pitches total. Child is now 6-3 for the season.
Washington St. starter Kyle Swannack, who was gone in the 5th inning before Dunn's 2 RBI double, got the loss, and fell to 3-5 for the season.
The win improved Oregon St. to 38-15, and 15-12 in the Pac-12, and also elevated Casey into a tie with Jack Riley for most wins as a Beaver coach, as both now have 613 in the books. Casey will go for the record next week in the season ending series back at Goss Stadium when the Beavers host conference leading Oregon (41-14, 19-8) in the Civil War. The Ducks completed a non-conference sweep of Seattle today with a 6-1 win.
It was Oregon St.'s 3rd consecutive series win that came as a result of a Sunday win, and 5th in 7 series in the last 8 weeks decided by the final game, more than any year in history for the Beavers. It was also the first series win for Oregon St. in Pullman in 6 seasons.
Washington St. slipped to 26-26, and 11-16 in the Pac-12. The Cougars can finish with at most 30 regular season wins, if the can defeat Gonzaga Tuesday in their last home game, and then sweep Washington next weekend at Husky Ballpark in Seattle. Even if they accomplish that, the Cougars can not finish with a winning record in conference, and may have seen their post season hopes ended.
Arizona re-assumed second place in the Pac-12, 1 game behind Oregon, with a 6-1 win at USC, and UCLA fell 2 games back, and into a 3 way tie with Stanford and Arizona St. for third place, when the Bruins were upset 6-5 by California in Berkeley.
The Cardinal completed a weekend sweep in Utah with a 4-1 win, and the Sun Devils completed their sweep of Washington with a 9-6 win.
Oregon St. remains in 6th place, 4 games out, and while they can climb in the standings with wins against Oregon if they get help, the Beavers also can not fall below 6th even in the event of a sweep by the Ducks, as a result of today's win.