June 10, 2006
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Corvallis, Ore. - Mitch Canham's two-out RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Bill Rowe with the eventual game-winning run to lead No. 4 Oregon State (43-14) to a 4-3 victory over No. 17 Stanford (33-26) in the opening game of the NCAA Corvallis Super Regional on Saturday. Dallas Buck (8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO) improved to 12-2 on the season with 8.0 solid innings of work before Kevin Gunderson (1.0 IP) came on to pitch a perfect ninth and record his 17th save of the season and the 34th of his career.
The Beavers scored a pair of unearned runs in the contest off Stanford starter and losing pitcher Greg Reynolds (7-6), who allowed a total of four runs (two earned) on seven hits and four walks with nine strikeouts.
"This was a great game tonight," said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. "It's just one of those things where we gave them a couple of extra outs and they took advantage of it as good teams do. We've been playing pretty good defense, but we made a couple of errors [tonight] that came back to bite us because two of those guys came back to score."
One of the runs that scored was the game-winner when Rowe reached to lead off the seventh inning on an error by Stanford first baseman Jason Castro, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Graham and third on John Wallace's groundout before scoring on Canham's game-winner that fell just short of Cardinal left fielder Jim Rapoport.
The Beavers took advantage of Reynolds' wildness and another Cardinal error to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to retake a 3-2 lead. The two-run rally started when Stanford third baseman Randy Molina failed to come up with Chris Kunda's hard-hit one-out grounder for his first of two errors in the contest. Reynolds then walked Cole Gillespie and Rowe followed with an RBI single that was just out of the reach of Stanford second baseman Chris Lewis, bringing Kunda around to score and tying the game at 2-2. Reynolds then hit Graham to load the bases before walking Wallace to force in Gillespie. Reynolds was able to regain control and limit the damage, striking out Canham and getting Shea McFeely to hit into a fielders' choice and leave the bases stranded.
Stanford had come into the contest with a season-best string of six errorless games in a row.
Oregon State had struck first with a single run in the bottom of the first inning when Kunda and Gillespie put Beavers on first and third with one-out back-to-back singles. Reynolds was then called for his first balk of the season and only the second of his career when he faked a pickoff to third and then wheeled to first to catch Gillespie off the bag but a balk was called, allowing Kunda to score.
The Cardinal took a 2-1 lead on a two-run homer by Rapoport with no outs in the third that also scored Molina, who had led off with a walk.
After the Beavers regained a 3-2 advantage with their two runs in the third, the Cardinal tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth on a two-out RBI single down the third base line by Castro but could not manage another hit the rest of the way. Castro's clutch hit scored Minaker, who was hit by a pitch with one out to start the rally and moved to third on a single by Lewis.
Buck and Gunderson combined to face the minimum numbers of batters over the final 4.1 innings. The Cardinal had only one baserunner after the fifth when Castro walked with one out in eight but John Hester grounded into a double play that ended the inning.
Rapoport (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) was the only Stanford player with more than one hit and had two of the team's three RBI, while Castro drove in the other Cardinal run with his clutch two-out RBI single in the fifth.
Gillespie (2-3) had the only multiple-hit game for the Beavers with Canham, Rowe and Wallace accounting for the three RBI with one each. Kunda scored a pair of runs.
The Beavers left 13 runners stranded in the contest, including nine in scoring in position, and left the bases loaded twice. All seven runners Stanford left on came in the first five innings.
The victory put Oregon State just one victory away from making its second consecutive College World Series appearance, while Stanford will need to win the final two games of the best-of-three Super Regional to advance to the College World for the first time since 2003.
The Super Regional will continue on Sunday (7 pm, PT) with Stanford RHP Nolan Gallagher (5-4, 3.75) slated to take the hill for the Cardinal against Oregon State RHP Jonah Nickerson (9-4, 2.61). If Stanford wins on Sunday, the Super Regional will continue with a third and deciding game on Monday slated to begin at 4 pm, PT. Oregon State has announced RHP Mike Stutes (6-2, 2.71) as its probable starter for a Monday contest, while the Cardinal has not announced a probable starter.
"You can't say enough about how important tomorrow is," said Minaker. "Tomorrow is going to be a battle. We're going to have to match the same intensity we had tonight and just perform a little bit better, because as we all know the winner moves on and if we lose that's it. That's enough incentive to motivate you, but it's going to come down to performance."