#12 Stanford (29-13, 11-9) at Oregon State (29-15, 10-10) at 1:00 PM PDT at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field - KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM - Audio & Video Stream on Beaver Nation Online, for a fee
Oregon St. bounced back from their Friday night late game meltdown to even the series on Saturday, using a complete game performance by freshman Jace Fry, his third in his last 4 outings, to defeat Stanford 4-2, which also ended a 3 game losing streak for the Beavers.
Fry was masterful, allowing only 3 hits in the first 8 innings, before a single by Austin Wilson and a 2 RBI double down the left field line by Alex Blandino delivered the only Cardinal runs of the game. Surprisingly, Oregon St. coach Pat Casey, who usually has a short leash on pitchers, didn't pull Fry, possibly leery of the bull pen after Friday night, though Scott Schultz and Matt Boyd were effective Friday, only to be pulled.
Fry settled down, with a strikeout and a ground out to garner his 5th win, keeping the bull pen intact for today.
Beavers leadoff hitter Ryan Barnes led off with a home run to left, his first of the season. It gave Oregon St. an early lead for the 8th. game in a row, and against the Cardinal, it was a lead they would never give up. The Beavers expanded the lead to 2-0 in the 4th when Ryan Dunn doubled and designated hitter Jake Rodriguez delivered an RBI fly to score Michael Conforto, who had led off with a walk.
Oregon St. added the runs that were the difference in the game in the 7th, when Kavin Keyes and Joey Matthews came up with consecutive singles, and both moved up on on a infield ground out by John Tommasini, setting the table for both to score on the only error of the game.
After Barnes walked to load the bases, Tyler Smith, who is the Beavers' leading, but has been struggling of late, and was 0-3 for the day at the time, ripped a shot that forced Blandino, the Stanford third baseman, to make an off target throw to first to try to end the inning, allowing both Keyes and Matthews to score, and open up a 4-0 lead.
The win should have been even more comfortable for Oregon St., but the Beavers proceeded to leave the bases loaded after taking the 4-0 lead, after squandering more scoring opportunities earlier in the game, including having Matthews on third with no outs in the 5th, and Dunn on third with 1 out in the 4th., and neither scored.
It was the second day in a row where Oregon St. got 3 hits from their center fielder, as Matthews had 3 hits, after Max Gordon, who didn't play, had delivered 3 on Friday night.
Fry threw 123 pitches in picking up the win. Dean McArdle, who started in place of Brett Mooneyham, who has started every Saturday of the season for the Cardinal, but was suffering from the flu, lasted only 2 innings for Stanford, and took the loss, leaving him 3-2 for the year.
The loss to the Beavers dropped the Cardinal into 5th. place in the Pac-12, but Stanford is still within 2 1/2 games of conference leading Oregon, after the Ducks fell 12-6 at Arizona last night. The 'Cats' win pulled them back within 1/2 game of first place.
Oregon St. enters the day tied with Washington for 6th, 3 1/2 games back, after the Huskies beat USC 6-3, ensuring a win of their series against the Trojans. Arizona St. pulled into a tie with UCLA for third, 2 games back of Oregon, with a 17-1 blowout of last-place Utah last night in Tempe. The Bruins have the league's bye week, and stayed sharp by sweeping visiting Purdue 5-1 and 3-2, with another game against the Boilermakers today.
California beat Washington St. 9-4 in Pullman, which pulled the Cougars down a half game behind the Beavers and Huskies in the conference race, that has the top 8 teams all within 4 games of each other.
Arizona and UCLA reached the 30 win mark yesterday, and the winner of today's Stanford-Oregon St. game will become the 4th Pac-12 team to reach that level this season.
Stanford is scheduled to start freshman LHP John Hochstatter (3-3, 3.89 ERA), and Oregon St. will go with sophomore RHP Dan Child (4-3, 2.65 ERA).
Hochstatter started last Tuesday in Stanford's 8-5 loss at San Jose St., but was long gone very early in the evening, giving up 3 hits and a walk, and 3 earned runs, to the first 4 Spartan batters, which ended his outing.
In another game day move in response to the struggles of his pitching staff, Stanford coach Mark Marquess opted instead to go with junior RHP Sahil Bloom (2-0, 2.72 ERA). Bloom actually has the third most appearances of the Stanford pitching staff, having been in 15 games, but this is his first start.
Child went only 3 innings last Sunday, and took the loss in USC's 6-2 victory. Child allowed 10 hits, all singles, and 5 runs, all earned, and only struck out 1 Trojan.
It will be interesting which pitcher best bounces back from being battered pretty badly last time out, and in a series where both teams have taken losses when their bull pens let them down.