After being held to two total runs and 11 hits in 18 innings, Oregon State’s offense finally came to life in Sunday’s series finale against Oklahoma State.
And while the Beavers pounded out 14 hits and scored seven runs, it wasn’t enough to avoid a three-game baseball sweep at the hand of the Cowboys.
Oregon State dropped an 8-7 nonconference decision before a Goss Stadium crowd of 3,923 and heads to Eugene for the Civil War next weekend having lost four straight games for the first time since May 2016.
“I thought we competed our rear ends off today,” interim coach Pat Bailey said. “The final score wasn’t indicative of how we played. We made a couple mistakes pitching-wise and paid for them but if we compete like that every day … we got beat on the scoreboard is the only place we got beat.”
Oregon State is tied with Stanford for first in the Pac-12 at 17-4 with nine games to play. They meet at Stanford May 17-19.
Beau Philp had four hits in his second game back from injury and drove in a run, and Adley Rutschman, Ryan Ober and Alex McGarry all added two hits to pace the offense.
“I think you could see it from the jump we were a little more aggressive going after that second pitch,” said McGarry, who had a double and drove in a run. “That’s something we kind of talked about was not waiting around to see pitches, just kind of trying to chase a guy by putting up runs and banging the ball around a little bit and I think we did that.”
Rutschman blasted his 16th home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth, a shot to deep center that drew the Beavers within a run. But the Beavers left the tying run on base and were swept at home for the first time since Stanford did it in 2010.
Oregon State (31-14-1) fell behind in the first as the Cowboys scored three times on five hits. Andrew Navigato drove in two with a double and Trevor Boone’s swinging bunt made it 3-0.
The Beavers got a run back in the bottom half as McGarry delivered a two-out single to right to score Rutschman and make it 3-1.
Oregon State caught a potential break as Rutschman’s hard shot between first and second hit Philip. He was out and Rutschman was awarded first on what could have been an inning ending double play.
Ober followed with a single before McGarry collected his run-scoring hit.
Andy Armstrong and Jake Harvey singled with one out in the second before Philip doubled to the right-field corner to make it 3-2. Zach Zalesky then grounded out to first to drive in Harvey and tie the game at 3-all.
An error, sacrifice and a single off the pitcher put runners at the corners with one out in the fourth, but the Beavers failed to score as Rutschman struck out after nearly blasting a three-run homer that was just foul.
Ober opened the fifth with a single and McGarry doubled to put the Beavers in business. Preston Jones then blooped a single to right that drove in Ober for a 4-3 lead.
Jones stole second before Jake Dukart’s grounder up the middle for an out plated McGarry for a 5-3 lead.
Armstrong then drove the first pitch he saw to center deep enough for Jones to score from third for a 6-3 edge.
Navigato opened the sixth by being hit with a pitch, much to the objection of Bailey, who argued he did not make an attempt to get out of the way of the pitch.
“My understanding of the rulebook is a guy’s got to make an effort to get out of the way and he stood right there and didn’t move one bit,” Bailey explained.
McCusker then doubled past a diving Jones in center to put runners at second and third with one out.
Boone welcomed Jake Mulholland, on in relief of Dylan Pearce, by tying the game with a three-run homer to center.
Navigato opened the eighth with an infield single and McCusker followed suit with a single to left. Mulholland then struck out Boone and got pinch hitter Jake Taylor to ground out for the second out.
The Beavers intentionally walked Alix Garcia to load the bases. However, the move backfired as Cade Cabbiness delivered a two-run single on a 3-2 pitch to make it 8-6. Cabbiness had been 0 for 3 with three strikeouts before delivering the eventual game-winning runs.
Pearce got the start on the mound in place of Grant Gambrell, who went 8⅓ shutout innings last Sunday in blanking Washington State. Bailey said the staff decided to hold Gambrell out to rest for the final three Pac-12 series.
Pearce went five-plus innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. He gave up three runs on five hits in the first inning.
“I thought the first inning was not real good but he’s a competitor and I thought he did a great job after that,” Bailey said.