Winners of five straight, baseball sweeps OSU

Oregon State had a magical run to the World Series Title a few years ago, but this weekend it was Stanford who dominated the Beavers, winning games by eight, three and two runs, respectively. After their scheduled game against Santa Clara was rained out, twice, Stanford now faces Cal this weekend, with both bragging rights and second place in the league potentially on the line.

Friday
Stanford 14, Oregon State 6

After pounding 18 hits in last Tuesday's win at Santa Clara, the Cardinal offense tallied 19 against the Beavers, as six Cardinal batters were able to get at least two hits. Shortstop and No. 5 hitter Jake Schlander drove in six runs, a career high, including a two-run homer in the seventh. First baseman and cleanup hitter Jonathan Kaskow continued to hit well, as he drove in four runs, including a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh which set up Schlander's home run.

Stanford starting pitcher, Brett Mooneyham, allowed only an infield single through the first four innings. After he recorded two outs in the fifth, he allowed five hitters to reach base, including a three-run double by No. 3 hitter Stefan Romero, which cut the deficit to 5-4. Mooneyham tossed 4.2 innings and gave up six earned on four hits, while walking six and striking-out three. After the Cardinal regained the lead in the seventh, reliever Mark Appel threw three hitless innings to get the save.

Saturday
Stanford 5, Oregon State 3

The top of the Stanford order continued to be an offensive force, as the first four hitters got seven of the team's ten hits and drove in all five runs. Second baseman and No. 2 hitter Colin Walsh went 2-for-5 and drove in four runs, including a game-winning, two-run homer in the top of the tenth. Leadoff batter Tyler Gaffney and clean-up hitter Jonathan Kaskow each got two hits in the game.

Oregon State struck first in the third inning when Romero, who played third base, hit a three-run homer to left-center on a 2-1 pitch off of starter Jordan Pries. However, Pries allowed only those three runs as he pitched 7.1 innings, gave up six hits, walked four, and struck out seven. Walsh notched a two-run triple in the fifth and Gaffney delivered an RBI groundout after a Jake Stewart triple in the seventh to tie the game at 3-3.

Oregon State left-handed starter Tanner Robles pitched 7.1 innings and gave up three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out four and walking one. Righty Tyler Waldron pitched the last 2.2 innings and allowed Walsh's homer. For the Cardinal, Alex Pracher allowed one base runner in two scoreless innings to get the win.

Sunday
Stanford 10, Oregon State 7

A solid pitching performance by starting pitcher Brian Busick and an early eight-run lead helped Stanford (18-13, 7-5 Pac-10) sweep Oregon State (20-11, 3-6 Pac-10). After the Beavers scored one run in the first inning, Busick settled down to give up only two earned runs, on seven hits in six innings, while striking out two and walking one.

The Cardinal scored three runs in the second inning on designated hitter Eric Smith's two-run single and an RBI groundout. Then, in the third inning, Stanford scored six runs, three of them coming on a 1-1 pitch to center-fielder and No. 9 hitter Jake Stewart, who drove the pitch over the left-field fence, making the score 9-1.

The Beavers cut into the deficit methodically by scoring six runs in the final four innings, five of which came against relievers Dean McArdle and Mark Appel, but never threatened the Cardinal lead. Starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio gave up nine earned runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings, as he walked two and failed to strike out a batter. The Oregon State offense got 11 hits, three of which came from first baseman and clean-up batter Danny Hayes, who drove in three Beaver runs. However, it was not enough production as Oregon State dropped to near the bottom of the Pac-10 standings.

Wednesday
Santa Clara vs. Stanford

The game was postponed twice due to rain and has been reschedule for May 3.

Notes

Stanford is tied for third place in the Pac-10 with No. 17 Arizona (27-9, 7-5 Pac-10), trailing only No. 15 California (22-11, 8-4 Pac-10) and No. 1 Arizona State (31-4, 9-3 Pac-10). The Beavers dropped to No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll, but dropped out of the Baseball America Poll, while Stanford remained unranked in the Coaches' Poll but jumped to No. 22 in the BA Poll.

First-baseman Jonathan Kaskow was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after hitting .625 in four games. The switch-hitter has an impressive .455 batting average/.542 on-base average/.621 slugging percentage in 66 at-bats overall, with one home run and six doubles. He has accumulated 14 walks to 13 strikeouts, showing good plate discipline, batting mostly from the left side of the plate. Coach Marquess has been reluctant to start him against left-handers, and we he does, Kaskow bats lower in the batting order. Now that he has become a lineup mainstay, however, I would expect for him to be used against both righties and lefties.

Also bolstering the Stanford offense as of late has been Jake Schlander, who has a .278/.389/.417 composite line and has batted fourth in the lineup on several occasions. After striking out 41 times and walking 16 times last year, Schlander only has 10 strikeouts to 19 walks so far this year.

The Cardinal are 2-2 in Pac-10 series this year. When they've been successful, it has been because of the starting pitching behind Pries. Mooneyham has performed well in spurts this season, and still has more walks and more strikeouts than innings pitched. Brian Busick has settled in nicely as a reliable starter, with a 3.13 earned run average in 31.2 innings.

Middle relief for the Cardinal has been somewhat inconsistent, though Snodgress has looked good in that role in the last two weeks. The lefty has 28 strikeouts in 24.2 innings, with 22 walks and an earned-run average of 5.84. Closer Alex Pracher has only experienced one bump in the road, two Saturdays ago against Oregon, but has been solid overall with a 2.88 earned run average in 25 innings.

Looking ahead, Stanford will play a three-game conference series against California this weekend for a chance at second place in the Pac-10.


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