Corvallis, OR. -- The Oregon State baseball program is in a three-way hunt for first place in the Pac-12. The UCLA Bruins, the Stanford Cardinal and the Beavers are all in contention to clinch a conference title entering the final week of the regular season.
Oregon State left Palo Alto this past weekend, splitting a series with No. 4 Stanford. Now, with a 35-16-1 overall record, the Beavers are in the driver's seat to potentially host a regional.
Part of the success OSU has had over the past few months stems from junior right-hander Grant Gambrell. As a starter, Gambrell has a 5-1 record and .272 ERA this season. He missed the last two weeks due to arm soreness, but is now back and healthy for the last Pac-12 home stretch of the year.
"I was going through my routine and my arm felt a little tender. I talked with my trainer and he said to play catch and see how it feels. I still felt it a little bit so I decided to play it safe and take a couple weeks off,” said Gambrell. “It was really tough though. I was itching and scratching to get back out there but the arm feels great. I feel normal. I had a little bit of tightness but feeling good, healthy and ready to go for USC."
This week against the Trojans, the Oregon State senior class will play in their last Pac-12 series of their Beaver careers. One senior who has had a major impact on the program is Zak Taylor.
During OSU’s championship run last year, Taylor had a batting average of .274 and played in 61 games. In 2019, he’s played nearly half that amount. Yet, Taylor remains the ultimate team player in the Oregon State club house.
"That guy works his butt off everyday. He's our team leader and our team captain. So, anytime he has success, our whole team is pulling for him,” said Gambrell. “Our whole team is pulling for everybody. But especially for him it felt good to get another run on the board and to see him succeed is huge."
"I guess for me for him of why I'm so proud of him is that even though he wasn't playing, he never quit working,” said Oregon State head coach Pat Bailey. “So I just think it's a great example of what it means to be a true professional."
The Beavers will host the Trojans this weekend starting Thursday night at 6:00.
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- Web Extra: Jonathan Smith on the Beaver's 2018 Signing Class (2/7/18)