Baseball: Offense takes out OSU

April 19, 2010, 12:42 a.m.
Baseball: Offense takes out OSU
Junior second baseman Colin Walsh had a standout offensive performance in Saturday’s extra-inning victory against Oregon State, hitting a two-run home run in the 10th inning to secure the game, and series, win. (Masaru Oka/Staff Photographer)

Baseball earns first Pac-10 sweep on the road against Oregon State

A rough home series against Oregon last weekend saw Stanford’s baseball team lose its top 25 ranking, but the team came roaring back on the road against Oregon State. The Cardinal (18-13, 7-5 Pac-10) got its first Pac-10 sweep of the year as it summarily dismantled the No. 17 Beavers (20-11, 3-6).

The Cardinal offense was especially impressive, scoring a total of 29 runs in three games off Oregon State’s vaunted pitching staff. Entering the series, Oregon State had a team ERA of 2.97, a number that jumped to 3.56 after Sunday’s game.

The first game of the series, a 14-6 win for Stanford on Friday, saw Cardinal hitters dominate the Oregon State pitching staff. Beaver starter Greg Peavey, the staff’s top pitcher, gave up five runs in 6.1 innings, while striking out four. Overall, Oregon State used five pitchers, but its relief staff was ineffective – the Cardinal won the game on the back of two five-run rallies in the seventh and eighth innings.

Junior shortstop Jake Schlander, who had struggled in the Oregon series, was critical to Stanford’s success. He went 3-5 with six RBIs and hit his third home run of the season. Junior first baseman Jonathan Kaskow also hit well, going 2-4, with three runs scored and four RBIs.

Oregon State’s offense was also effectively shut down by Stanford’s pitchers, outside of a six-run outburst in the fifth inning. Sophomore left-hander Brett Mooneyham started the game and gave up six runs on four hits before being taken out in the fifth. While his performance dropped off somewhat from his last start against Oregon, where he held the Ducks to no runs in eight innings, it proved to be enough for the Cardinal.

The Stanford bullpen pitched remarkably well, holding Oregon State hitters to just one hit over the final 4.1 innings. Freshman Mark Appel pitched the final three innings to pick up the save.

The second game of the series was a much closer contest, with the Cardinal pulling out a 5-3 win in 10 innings. Stanford relied on a combination of strong pitching and clutch hitting to secure the series win.

Junior second baseman Colin Walsh was Stanford’s offensive star. His two-run home run in the 10th gave Stanford the advantage in extra innings. He also had two RBIs in regulation, which narrowed the gap between the Cardinal and the Beavers after Oregon State took an early lead in the third inning.

Freshman right fielder Tyler Gaffney was also critical, getting an RBI to tie the game in the seventh inning.

For the Beavers, the bullpen proved to be their Achilles’ heel for the second straight game. Starting pitcher Tanner Robles gave up three runs in 7.1 innings before turning it over to reliever Tyler Waldron. Though Waldron was able to hold the Cardinal through the last two innings of regulation, he gave up the home run to Walsh and took the loss in the game.

Conversely, Stanford’s relievers shut down the Oregon State offense late in the game once again. After sophomore starter Jordan Pries gave up three runs in 7.1 innings, sophomore Scott Snodgress and junior Alex Pracher pitched a combined 2.2 innings, giving up no hits and one walk to the Beavers.

The teams found themselves in a role reversal of sorts in the final game of the series on Sunday. This time, the Cardinal jumped out to an early lead, scoring three and six runs in the second and third innings, respectively, to take a 9-1 lead. Though the Beavers tried to rally late, its offense fell short and gave Stanford the 10-7 victory.

Stanford’s offense was able to deliver victory once more, with different players making big impacts. This time, freshman center fielder Jake Stewart was the offense’s dynamo, with four RBIs in the game. Schlander and freshman designated hitter Eric Smith were also strong, with two RBIs each.

Unlike in the first two games of the series, starting pitching proved to be the Beavers’ weak point. The lineup tore through Oregon State starter Sam Gaviglio, who entered the game with a 2.00 ERA. However, this was only his third start of the season. Gaviglio was removed after just 2.2 innings, having given up nine runs to the Cardinal.

The four pitchers used after Gaviglio proved to be effective, mostly shutting down the Stanford lineup for the last six innings of the game.

The Cardinal’s offensive show compensated for the pitching staff’s performance, which was not quite as strong as in the first two games of the series. Sophomore starter Brian Busick gave up only two runs in six innings, but freshmen relievers Dean McArdle and Appel gave up five runs over the last three innings of the game.

This series vastly improves Stanford’s position in the Pac-10. After starting the weekend tied for seventh in the conference, the Cardinal is now tied with Arizona for third place behind California and Arizona State.

Meanwhile, the Beavers, who started the weekend tied for third, are now in an eighth-place tie with Washington State.

The Cardinal is now on a five-game winning streak, and will look to keep up its momentum heading into a four-game homestand. Stanford will play Santa Clara on Tuesday before opening a three-game conference series against Cal on Friday.

Kabir Sawhney is currently a desk editor for the News section. He served as the Managing Editor of Sports last volume.

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