Being the number one overall seed is never an easy thing for any team in any sport. We all know that. Oregon State is caring that burden with them into the College World Series this year. With only four losses this season, the Beavers will carry that supposed burden with pride.
The Beavers took the field on Saturday afternoon against the always dangerous Cal-State Fullerton Titans.
With all the questions surrounding the absence of Luke Heimlich, the pitching staff was rearranged for the College World Series. Even with the altered pitching staff, the Beavers still entered Saturday’s with the deepest rotation in college baseball.
Oregon State pitcher, Jake Thompson, started the game and was not sharp from the beginning of the game. Thompson gave up a three-run home run in the top of the first inning to Timmy Richards. Being in a hole right out of the gate was something that the Beavers really have not had to deal with all season long.
Thompson stayed in the game until the top of the fourth when he finally got chased after dropping another run to make the deficit 5-1. Jake Mulholland came in and settled everything down with his pitching. He pitched a scoreless 4 1⁄3 innings which allowed the Oregon State offense to start coming alive.
Once the Beavers got into the Cal-State bullpen the bats started to get hot. The Beavers got the bases loaded for Nick Madrigal to deliver a sacrifice fly to drive in Michael Gretler. With two outs in the inning, the Beavers put on a rally. Once KJ Harrison walked after a drawn out at-bat, the bases were loaded again. With Trevor Larmarch up to the plate, the Titans decide to switch pitchers again. Blake Workman comes into pitch.
Workman didn’t fair much better against the Beaver bats. Larmach singles to center field which scores Preston Jones and Steven Kwan. Now the score was 5-4. With runners on first and third, Jack Anderson rips a single to score KJ Harrison and now the Beavers have come all the way back and tied the game at 5-5.
You start hearing the Oregon State fans chanting the Beaver fight song. The momentum was with the Beavers now and the Titans looked like they didn’t know what hit them.
Going to the bottom of the eighth inning, the Beavers needed to score somehow, someway. If they scored then they could be just three outs away from an incredible victory.
Nick Madrigal lead off the bottom of the eighth with a fly out. KJ Harrison was coming to the plate and Harrison is a player who can take any pitcher over the wall. Harrison steps in a pitcher right down the middle and hit a high fly to deep left center. If it wasn’t for a spectacular play by Titan center fielder Scott Hurst. Now there were two outs. Trevor Larnach gets a single. There was still life for the Beavers. Jack Anderson comes up and is hit by a pitch in the back of leg.
First and second, two outs. Drama in Omaha.
Adley Rutschman comes up and drives in the go-ahead run. Oregon State leads 6-5 going to the top of the ninth inning. Who do the Beavers go to shut this game down?
Rasmussen comes in and throws gas. His fastball runs up in the mid-90’s and the Titans couldn’t catch up with it at all. He strikes out the first two batters and then gets a fly out to end the game.
A sigh of relief was let out by every Beaver Believer watching this game. To their fans, they didn’t want to start this tournament in the loser’s side of the bracket. Neither did the players.
Oregon State was challenged today, they will be challenged in their next game against the LSU/Florida State winner. For this entire season, the Beavers have dealt with adversity in their own special way. That way is to not let anything get to them. Oregon State is a determined and talented group and if the Beavers play to their potential then another trophy should be in their future.