YARD! Ortiz dinger buoys OSU postseason dream

WITH PERHAPS THE postseason fate of OSU riding in the balance, Ryan Oritz went yard with two outs in the bottom of the eight, the grand slam the decider in an 8-7 win Sunday. Taking two of three from UCLA could well wind up big, with the regular season games left now in single digits. The Beavs find themselves in a familiar late season position. Could the two-time champs possibly do it all again?

VERY FEW expected the Oregon State baseball team to repeat as NCAA champs last year -- some even wondered if they'd make postseason play. But make it they did, and then caught fire to win it all in their repeat bid.

After taking two of three from UCLA (25-23, 8-10), who themselves are trying to extend their season, Oregon State now stands 24-19 overall, with an 11-10 mark in the Pac-10. The Beavs have nine regular season games left.

One of the criteria for deciding the regional playoffs field is the NCAA's RPI rankings, where OSU sits at No. 26. The Beavs were just recently as high as No. 14 but dropped five of nine games before the Friday victory over the Bruins.

If Oregon State is to make a third straight postseason run, they likely needed a series win over UCLA. They got it. And overall, OSU's chances will be much improved if they can continue on this latest hot streak.

Oregon State last year finished up the regular season ranked No. 25 in the nation, finishing 38-17 overall, with a 10-14 mark in the Pac-10.

Last week, the Beavs, who then had a 20-18 mark, were No. 40 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. But as recently as April 30, they were ranked No. 23 in the land.

Every game is likely to be critical coming down the stretch but if both teams continue to put Ws up on the board, a key one-game tilt could take place a week from Monday when OSU takes on Long Beach State, who was ranked No. 26 in last week's poll.

Mon, May 12 Utah Valley State -- Corvallis, Ore. 6 p.m.
Tue, May 13 Utah Valley State -- Corvallis, Ore. 2 p.m.
Fri, May 16 USC -- at Los Angeles, Calif. 7 p.m.
Sat, May 17 USC -- at Los Angeles, Calif. 1:30 p.m.
Sun, May 18 USC -- at Los Angeles, Calif. 1 p.m.
Mon, May 19 Long Beach State -- at Long Beach, Calif. 6:30 p.m.
Fri, May 23 Pacific -- Corvallis, Ore. 5 p.m.
Sat, May 24 Pacific -- Corvallis, Ore. 2 p.m.
Sun, May 25 Pacific -- Corvallis, Ore. 1 p.m.

The Beavers have put in bids to host a regional and Super Regional.

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