19th ranked Oregon St. starts their last regular season road trip tonight, taking on Stanford at Sunken Diamond at 7 PM.
The Beavers (33-14-1, 14-9-1) have taken their last 4 Pac-12 series, and pounded Portland 20-0 Wednesday night, so they come in on a real roll. Another series win would help secure a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, and a sweep (coupled with a strong finish to the regular season next week) could keep the possibility of hosting an NCAA Regional, though that depends a lot on what happens to others in any event.
Oregon St. starts the weekend in 5th place in the Pac-12, 3 1/2 games back of UCLA, but is only 1/2 game (thanks to Sunday's 15 inning 2-2 tie against Utah) back of the 3 way tie for second between Arizona St., USC, and California, the Beavers' opponent in next weekend's regular season ending series back at Goss Stadium.
The Cardinal (22-28, 7-17) got a 6-5 win over San Francisco Tuesday night, but have lost their last 3 series, and enter the weekend in last place in the Pac-12. Stanford did take 2 of 3 from California to claim their Pac-12 rivalry series, and have since beat the Bears again, though.
Player loss after last season and a string of injuries has really sunk Stanford's season into Sunken Diamond, but it wasn't the typically very tough non-conference schedule they took on; it was the start to the Pac-12 season that killed the Cardinal, who were swept by Arizona, at Arizona St., and then Washington, which dug them into a hole they haven't been able to climb out of.
The Pac-12 Network will have tv coverage of the entire series. A fireworks show will follow tonight's game, though tv won't stay around for it. The game will be a sell-out.
Oregon St. has dominated the series recently, having defeated Stanford their last 8 games in a row, including sweeps the last 2 seasons. The 8 game winning streak is Oregon St.'s longest ever against Stanford, and the Beavers have won 11 of the last 12 meetings.
The Beavers have also won the last 8 games against the Cardinal in Palo Alto, sweeping the last 2 series at Sunken Diamond.
Oregon St. will, as always, open with junior RHP Andrew Moore (5-2, 1.80 ERA). Moore mowed down Utah last Friday night, throwing a complete game 6 hitter at the Utes in a 3-0 win in which he threw 76 strikes out of 99 pitches thrown.
Stanford will counter with sophomore RHP Brett Hanewich (3-5, 4.21 ERA). Hanewich pitched well last Friday night at USC, going 6 innings, allowing 7 hits, but only 1 run. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, that was the only run of the game. It was the first of 2 shutouts Stanford suffered against the Trojans last weekend.