Anymore, it seems a lot of things that are important to Oregon St., good or not, seem to happen late at night, and tonight was no exception.
The Beavers held off a late Stanford rally when a bottom of the 9th showdown between Mitch Hickey and the top of the Cardinal order was all Hickey. As a result, 19th ranked Oregon St secured a 7-5 win that extended their winning streak against Stanford to 10 in a row, producing their 5th Pac-12 series win in a row, and somewhat remarkably, 4 conference series wins in a row at Sunken Diamond.
Oregon St. jumped to an early 1-0 lead when KJ Harrison picked up leadoff hitter Christian Donahue with an RBI double, and Elliott Carey's 2 out bases loaded 2 RBI single in the top half of the 3rd inning make it 3-0.
Stanford's only threat in the early going came in the bottom of the 3rd, when Drew Johnson's weird RBI triple that took a weird hop and then got by Jeff Hendrix when he slipped and fell, which drove in Johnny Locher to get the Cardinal on the board.
Hendrix more than made up for that with a leadoff double in the 5th, and went on to score on Kyle Nobach's chopper, making it 4-1 Oregon St. The Beavers' lead quickly grew to 5-1 when Harrison scored on Carey's infield ground out..
Oregon St.'s Saturday starter Drew Rasmussen, above, has been brilliant at Goss Stadium, but far less spectacular on the road. Tonight against Stanford, he was much better, at least for the first half of the game, which represents a milestone of sorts in his progression, and he would collect the win to improve to 6-3 for the season.
But Rasmussen walked the leadoff batter n the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, and when he hit a batter as well in the 7th, his night was over. Mak Fox took over, and limited the potential damage to 1 run, on consecutive sacrifice flies by Stanford.
The Beavers extended their lead to 7-2 in the top of the 8th, when they loaded the bases with 2 out for Harrison, who delivered a 2 RBI single for what turned out to be the game winning runs.
Oregon St. has been terrible of late at clutch hitting, but did much better tonight, going a collective 6 of 11 with 2 out, and 5 of their 7 runs were scored with 2 outs.
For some reason, Oregon St. pitching coach Nate Yeski pulled Fox, who was throwing effectively, in favor of Sam Tweedt in the bottom of the 8th. On the surface of it, it might have made sense, given that Tweedt leads the team in wins.
But Tweedt was totally ineffective tonight, issuing 2 walks and a ball before Yeski was back to hand the ball to Luke Heimlich, who saved last night's 5-2 Oregon St. win.
Heimlich wasn't up to life (or game) saving standards either, and Matt Winchers drove in both of Tweedt's free passes with a 2RBI double into the right field corner.
Another walk and a sacrifice bunt set the stage for Stanford to pull within 7-5 on Jesse Kueth's sacrifice fly.
Oregon St. had a chance to put the game away when they followed up on Joe Gillette's 1 out caroming double by loading the bases, but their clutch hitting didn't continue, with Donahue striking out looking.
Fortunately for the Beavers, Hickey induced a pair of ground outs and a fly ball to end the game, and Oregon St. had not only the series win, but improved to 35-14-1, and 16-9-1 in the Pac-12, while last place Stanford slid further to 22-30, and 7-19 in conference.
The Beavers will look for a 3rd sweep in a row of the Cardinal, as well as a 3rd sweep in a row in Palo Alto, in tomorrow's series close out contest at 1 PM.