(CORVALLIS)—On the whole, it was a tough night for the Oregon State baseball team, playing at home in Goss Stadium against the visiting Stanford Cardinal. Heading into the ninth inning, the Beavers hadn’t generated much offense, and they weren’t getting a lot of calls, either, from the umpiring crew. Trailing 2-1, it looked bleak for OSU.
However, the No. 10 Beavers battled in the ninth against the Cardinal, scoring the winning run with one out after capitalizing on rare Stanford fielding mistakes. Logan Ice singled to start the inning, and when the Cardinal threw the ball away on Trever Morrison’s sacrifice bunt attempt, suddenly Oregon State had the tying run 90 feet away with no one out.
Steven Kwan came in to pinch hit, and with Logan running on the pitch, Kwan pushed his squeeze bunt down the first-base line. Stanford decided to gamble on the ball rolling foul, but it never did—and suddenly, the score was tied with runners on first and second. Kyle Nobach then sacrificed Morrison and Kwan over; this was followed by a walk to Billy King that was anything but intentional.
With the bases loaded, one out and the game tied, Christian Donahue also drew a walk to score Morrison with the game-winning run. Just like that, Stanford lost a game it had dominated for eight innings. The 3-2 victory gave the Beavers their 12th straight win over the Cardinal, dating back to 2012, and it got OSU back on the winning side of the ledger after Wednesday’s loss at Oregon.
Now with a 27-11 overall mark and a 9-7 record in the Pac-12 Conference, Oregon State can focus on winning this series at home over the weekend. That didn’t seem to be a possibility late in the game tonight, when the Beavers had just four hits entering the ninth inning. They’d missed some big chances earlier, and it looked like it would come back to haunt OSU at the end.
Stanford starter Tristan Beck was masterful, allowing just K.J. Harrison’s solo home run in the fourth inning and a few other hits. The Beavers missed solid scoring opportunities in the third inning and the eighth inning, unable to come up with the big hit when they needed it. Ironic, of course, that the “big hit” in the ninth was the bunt single by Kwan.
The Cardinal made an uncharacteristic two errors in the game, while the Beavers didn’t make any. Oregon State shouldn’t count on that happening again Saturday, of course. Stanford is one of the best fielding and pitching teams in the nation, and the Cardinal let this one get away from them late. The Beavers are scrappy, especially at home, but games like this can make or break your season in late April.
For Stanford, it drops the overall record to 19-17 and the conference mark to just 7-9. For a team that usually cannot hit very well, the Cardinal did just enough against OSU starter Travis Eckert, who threw 111 pitches before exiting in the ninth inning trailing by one run. He got a huge boost from his defense in the second when Nobach threw out a runner at home plate to end the inning and save a run.
Also, time after time, the Beavers infield came up with big plays to support Eckert, who was getting screwed by the umpire at the plate. Oregon State also lost a runner at first base in the fourth inning due to a blown call by the umpire there (replays showed the Beaver batter to be safe, which would have extended the inning).
But all is well that ends well, and for now, Oregon State can sleep just fine after the win. But the Beavers know the Cardinal will be gunning for them tomorrow, and it won’t be an easy day at all.
Game time on Saturday is 1:35 p.m. at Goss Stadium.