Stanford’s baseball team went through a historically brutal schedule early in the 2011 season, but last weekend’s series against visiting Oregon State may have been the most disheartening yet. The No. 9 Beavers (27-7, 8-1 Pac-10) entered the weekend as the Pac-10 leaders, a position they’ll hold onto after sweeping Stanford (16-12, 3-6) at Sunken Diamond. Despite entering the series with a 9-1 record at home, the No. 17 Cardinal was unable to push across runs as it fell back in the conference standings with 1-0, 8-1 and 6-4 losses.
Sophomore pitcher Mark Appel came into Friday’s contest riding a wave of momentum after his best performance in a Cardinal uniform in his previous start. Appel again appeared to be on top of his game, pitching 6.2 innings and allowing only seven hits and one run. That run, scored on an RBI single by the Beavers’ designated hitter Kavin Keyes in the top of the first, proved to be enough for Oregon State starter Sam Gaviglio, who allowed only six baserunners and no runs in eight strong innings. OSU closer Tony Bryant struck out the side in the ninth to cap the 1-0 Beaver victory.
On Saturday, Stanford’s offense was once again stymied by Oregon State pitching, as the Cardinal could only scrape across one run on two hits against starter Josh Osich en route to a blowout, 8-1 loss. The bottom of the Stanford order was completely stifled, as the fifth through ninth hitters combined to go 1-for-14 on the day. Cardinal junior starter Jordan Pries took the loss after allowing five earned runs in six innings.
Sunday saw the Cardinal bats draw first blood after letting opponents score first in six straight games. Stanford scored two in the bottom of the opening frame to take its first lead of the series, but the Cardinal offense once again went quiet for the next seven innings. Stanford scratched through a couple more runs in the ninth, but it was not enough in a 6-4 loss. The Beavers handed Stanford sophomore starter Dean McArdle his second career defeat, with both coming in his last two starts.
The sweep was Oregon State’s first ever at Sunken Diamond. Stanford must regroup now with a midweek game at Santa Clara tomorrow before next weekend’s home series against No. 23 UCLA.