With an opportunity to seize control of the Pac-12 baseball race, Oregon State’s bullpen couldn’t hold a five-run advantage in Sunday’s three-game series finale with Stanford.
The third-ranked Beavers led 6-1 after four innings but didn’t score the rest of the way as the Cardinal slowly clawed their way back. Nick Oar tied the game in the ninth with a pinch-hit homer to set up Will Matthiessen’s three-run double in the 10th, lifting No. 2 Stanford to a 9-6 victory before a sellout crowd of 3,805 at sunny Goss Stadium.
OSU (38-8-1, 16-7-1), which won the first two games of the series behind dominant pitching performances from Luke Heimlich and Bryce Fehmel, is now a game and half back of Stanford (39-8, 18-6) in the Pac-12 standings with two weeks remaining.
“As well as we pitched the first two games, we certainly didn’t do that today,” coach Pat Casey said. “We didn’t have any arm that we ran out there that gave us what we felt we were looking for. You get 12 hits and six runs off a team that is leading the (Pac-12) in ERA, you should win the game.
“We just didn’t get it done, didn’t finish.”
The Beavers have won eight straight series against the Cardinal.
Down five runs after four innings, Stanford put the tying runs aboard with no outs in the eighth. A Nico Hoerner RBI single cut it to 6-5, but closer Jake Mulholland spun a 6-4-3 double play and a soft groundout to Nick Madrigal at second to keep OSU in front.
The Beavers loaded the bases with two outs in the home half, but Trevor Larnach grounded out following a Madrigal intentional walk to end the inning.
Oar tied the game in the ninth with a one-out, pinch-hit homer to left. It was Oar’s third round-tripper of the year in 10 at-bats.
Stanford closer Jack Little escaped a jam in the bottom of the inning with a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out twin killing. Jack Anderson swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch and Adley Rutschman, who led off with a single, was gunned down at third.
Casey said the runners were sent to avoid a double play.
“(Anderson) is a contact guy and he was going to get a fastball,” Casey said. “You’d think a senior guy would make contact.”
Stanford loaded the bases in the 10th with two singles and an intentional walk. After a popup for the second out, Matthiessen turned on a 2-2 Mulholland pitch for a bases-clearing double to the left-field corner.
Matthiessen, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week, is a West Linn High graduate.
Little (2-0) pitched 3⅓ innings of scoreless relief to get the win. Mulholland (1-2) was knocked around for four runs on five hits with a strikeout and a walk.
The Cardinal out-hit OSU 16-12 but left 14 runners on base. The Beavers stranded 12.
Beau Branton went 5 for 6 at the plate to lead Stanford’s offense. Steven Kwan and Rutschman had three hits apiece for OSU.
The Beavers again jumped out to an early lead, plating two first-inning runs off Stanford starter Brendan Beck.
Kwan led off with a double and Cadyn Grenier followed with a bunt single, extending his hitting streak to 23 games. Kwan has hit safely in 13 straight games.
Madrigal brought home Kwan with a first-pitch single up the middle and Grenier later scored on a Michael Gretler sacrifice fly. The Beavers scratched across four quick runs Friday night and led 3-0 after three innings Saturday.
OSU starter Kevin Abel issued four of his six walks in the third to force in a run. Abel, a freshman right-hander, needed 82 pitches to get through three innings and exited after four, surrendering two runs on four hits with six strikeouts while plunking two batters.
Grant Gambrell, OSU’s Sunday starter for most of Pac-12 play, will likely throw Monday as the Beavers open a two-game nonconference home set with San Diego at 5:35 p.m.
Rutschman put OSU up 4-1 in the third with a two-RBI double to the wall in left. Madrigal and Larnach scored on the opposite-field liner.
The Beavers added two more in the fourth to chase Beck, the younger brother of Cardinal ace Tristan Beck.
Kwan plated the first run by bunting home Preston Jones, who reached on a leadoff double. Rutschman later drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded against reliever Jacob Palisch.
Brendan Beck entered with the Pac-12’s lowest ERA among qualified players at 1.42. He is typically Stanford’s midweek starter but received the nod Sunday over regular No. 3 pitcher Erik Miller.
The freshman righty labored through three-plus innings, giving up six runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Beck had allowed just eight earned runs in 50⅔ innings all season.
Stanford got one back in the fifth and cut it to 6-4 on Hoerner’s two-RBI single in the sixth. Christian Chamberlain prevented further damage by fanning Matthiessen with two on and two out.
Matthiessen delivered the game-winner later in the afternoon.