Sometimes the best laid plans do come together. The Oregon State Beaver baseball team have punched their ticket to Omaha, Nebraska to continue their quest for the programs third National Championship in the last 10 years.
On a chilly Saturday night in Corvallis the Beavers put their stamp on the Corvallis Super Regional by taking care of Vanderbilt 9-2 in front of a sold out Goss Stadium. With the sweep of the Commodores, the Beavers won their school-record 54th game against only four losses all year.
The Beavers had Bryce Fehmel starting on the mound for the first time in about a month and he looked as comfortable as child with ice cream in front of them. He kept the Vanderbilt hitters off balance in his first start since May 6th.
Fehmel was helped by the exploits of first baseman K.J. Harrison who helped give Fehmel a bit a cushion with a three-run home run in the third inning. The blast by Harrison gave the Beavers a 4-0 lead that it never gave up.
Going into this game, everybody knew the Beavers had to realign their starting rotation due to the controversy with Luke Heimlich having pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual molestation in 2012.
It is apparent that the Beavers have the “next man up” mentality when times get tough.
Bryce Fehmel was dueling the potential number one overall pick in the upcoming MLB draft, Kyle Wright. Fehmel matched Wright in every sense of the word on Saturday night. You could make the argument that Fehmel was better than Wright on this night. He didn’t appear to be intimidated by Wright or the situation that he found himself in at all.
Bryce Fehmel went the distance, struck out 10 Vanderbilt hitters, only gave up five hits, and didn’t walk a single hitter.
In a word, dominant.
To think that Bryce Fehmel was going to perform like this before the game started, would have been a bit a stretch. Even for Pat Casey.
Casey was even pleasantly surprised by the performance of his pitcher. Coach Casey was going to keep Fehmel in the game until he thought he could go anymore. That point never came for Casey or Fehmel.
Kyle Wright, the Vanderbilt starter, lasted 6 2⁄3 innings, gave up eight hits, struck out eight, walked three, but gave up seven runs. He tried to keep his team in the game, but the Commodores offense never really got any momentum going to help out their star pitcher.
Once the Beavers got to the bottom of the ninth, you could hear the “Omaha” chants from the crowd. The crowd knew it was a fore gone conclusion and when the third out was caught at the left field warning track, the dog pile of Oregon State players on the pitching mound was in full effect.
This is a team that I believe is a motivated and focused group of players after not getting invited to the college baseball playoffs last year. I have made the comparison to those back-to-back championship teams with this team early on in the season. The commitment with each one of these Beaver players is absolutely there.
The team has the pitching, hitting, speed, and depth to win the NCAA National Championship in Omaha. Lets not forget about the consistency with it’s coaching staff. Pat Casey will let the players enjoy the win for a day and then it’s back to work for the team.
The mission of the 2017 Oregon State Beaver baseball team is not over. They have made it to the dance, now, it is time to be the only ones left dancing.