The Beavers continued their late-season run at hosting an NCAA regional Sunday by completing a sweep of Stanford with a 12-3 victory. Oregon State (35-14-1, 16-9-1), who has crept into the high-teens or low twenties of most polls, and was #33 in RPI Sunday, have an outside shot at being one of the 16 hosts announced by the NCAA next Monday, and this 12-3 win kept those (slim) hopes alive.
As per usual, Travis Eckert got the Sunday start, and he was able to battle through despite not seeming to have his best stuff. Stanford had quite a few hard-hit line-drive outs, Eckert didn't strike a batter out, and needed a couple diving catches behind him to keep Stanford at bay.
In the 2nd inning, DH Gabe Clark, making his first start since April 24th against USC, made his case for more playing time with a 2-run home run off Stanford starter Chris Castellanos that opened the scoring. It was the junior's first home run since March 25th, and if Clark can rediscover what he had early in the year, he would be a dangerous addition to the Beavers lineup.
Stanford got one back in the bottom of the third, and would have at least tied it if not for a pair of diving catches from rightfielder Joe Gillette, continuing his good day after having scored on the Clark homer. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out, Gillette left his feet twice for back-to-back diving catches, the first of which allowed the Cardinal to push a run across, but preserving the Beavers lead nonetheless.
The top of the 5th started with an error and a pair of bunt singles, the second of which also had an error that allowed the Beavers to score and make it a 3-1 game. KJ Harrison, not outdone by Clark, also did an impression of the February version of himself with a line drive double that scored two more, giving the Beavers a 5-1 lead.
In the 6th, the pitching staff joined in on the "turn back the clock" act, and Eckert was removed after allowing a leadoff double and a flyout. Mak Fox sandwiched a strikeout between two walks, and left the bases loaded for Kevin Flemer. Flemer allowed a run on a wild pitch before reloading the bases by walking his only batter, and Scotland Church gave Stanford their second run of the inning with another RBI walk, but kept the score 5-3 by inducing a pop-up.
Oregon State got creative to get those runs back in the 7th, with Dane Lund leading off with a single and ending up on 3rd when KJ Harrison walked. Harrison and Lund then both got into a pair of rundowns, eluded any tag, and when the dust settled Harrison had stolen second. Lund scored on a strikeout wild pitch, and Harrison made it 7-3 on a Kyle Nobach single.
The Beavers blew it open in the 8th, batting around and plating 4 more runs. There were 4 walks, a Jeff Hendrix sacrifice fly, Joe Gillette RBI single, and the knockout blow, a 2-run triple from Elliott Cary. After Oregon State added another in the 9th, John Pomeroy finished the game out and completed the sweep.
Gillette was the leader of the offense, going 3-5 with a pair of runs and an RBI. Dane Lund was 2-4 with 2 runs, and 9-batter Christian Donahue stole a base and scored 3 times despite not getting a hit. Scotland Church continued his late-season rise on the mound with a scoreless 2.1 inning, 1 hit, 1 walk outing.
The Beavers move into 2nd place in the Pac-12, a half game above the Sun Devils who sit at 17-10. USC and Cal are tied a game behind the Beavers, with their series concluding Monday. Neither of them can catch the Beavers tomorrow. Oregon State closes out the regular season next week, with a 4-game home slate starting with a Tuesday matchup with Oregon before playing 3 games against the (currently) 5th place California Golden Bears.