It wasn't a volcanic eruption, but it still came as a blast to Beaver Nation. Specifically, it was a 6 run eruption by Portland in the 4th inning tonight at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer that more than overcame all Oregon State would accomplish.
The Beavers scratched out single runs in each of the first three innings, with KJ Harrison's solo home run in the 3rd, his 8th of the season, above, the most exciting.
But 5 walks that produced 2 runs, and set the table for Grant Taylor's 3 RBI double, in the top of the 4th overcame all of that. Yet another walk facilitated Taylor being drive in for a 6-3 Portland lead. It all also drove not only Oregon State starter Jordan Britton, who took the loss to fall to 0-2 for the season, but also Scotland Church from the game.
The Beavers got close, answering with 2 runs in the bottom of the 4th, as Christian Donahue delivered an RBI single, and Caleb Hamilton an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
But that would be it for the the Oregon State offense, which had already been frustrated by clutch Portland pitching. The Beavers stranded 11 runners, and more notably, 7 of the first 8 in scoring position.
The remaining offensive fireworks came in the 8th, when Taylor erupted again, driving the first pitch of the inning out for his 4th home run of the season, and an insurance run.
Oregon State on the other hand repeated yet another example of bad baseball, as Steven Kwan, on his 4th hit of the night (his first collegiate career 4 hit game), was thrown out at third after doubling. This with the Beavers down to their last 5 outs and needing at least 2 runs. It was the kind of egregious error that has been repeated far too often.
On top of that, the Beavers also lost Nick Madrigal in the third inning, with a shoulder injury of unknown severity and duration.
The loss extended Oregon State's current losing streak to 4 games. The Beavers have now lost 7 of their last 10 games heading into this weekend's Civil War series against Oregon, and are now 29-16.
The now prolonged skid by Oregon State played itself out in terms of the crowd, as only 2,046 fans (a number not artificially inflated by unused season tickets and unused tickets distributed to the visitor as those announced for Goss Stadium are) turned out despite perfect weather, less than half of what has been the draw for the Keizer games.
Portland improved to 17-29, and snapped a 25 game losing streak to Oregon State, and got their first win in 4 years in Keizer, since the teams began playing an annual game at Volcanoes Stadium, the single A short season affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.
With Portland having an RPI south of 200, the loss is a very bad loss (though the Pilots deserve credit for better pitching and more efficiency), and will likely end the 24th ranked Beavers' run of being ranked, even if they snap out of their slump with a Civil War sweep.
Oregon also lost 5-4 tonight to Gonzaga, and will be only 22-21 when they arrive at Goss Stadium Friday night. Both the Ducks and Beavers are 10-11 in the Pac-12, and both may be playing for their post-season lives.