Sometimes the best laid plans do not go as planned. Oregon State was the number one ranked and seeded team coming into the College World Series. The Beavers had the pitching staff, confidence, and all-around talent to take home another College World Series National Championship. That’s why you play the games.
The LSU Tigers had a team that many experts thought could win the National Championship as well. The Tigers showed every part of that championship pedigree on Friday and Saturday.
With a 3-1 win on Friday, the Tigers got a third shot at the Beavers.
These two teams were so familiar with each other that there wasn’t to many surprises left between the teams.
The surprise that did happen was brought by the Beavers. Coming into the game on Saturday, Drew Rasmussen was expected to be the starting pitcher for the Beavers. He was even announced as the starter. However, at the last moment, Pat Casey decided to pull Rasmussen from being the starter. Instead, he went with Bryce Fehmel.
Why? Only Pat Casey knows that and he will have plenty of questions in the upcoming days to explain his reasoning.
When you have a pitcher in Drew Rasmussen who is a first round draft pick (Tampa Bay), you pitch that guy when you have to have a win. You roll with your most talented pitcher.
I understand what Pat Casey was thinking with starting Fehmel, but you don’t keep talent on the bench.
The other problem that Oregon State had was a strike zone that was being called by home plate umpire Greg Street. Several of his strike calls were well outside a typical strike zone.
Street was fairly consistent with his wide zone with both teams, but it seemed it affected the Beavers more than the Tigers. The calls from Greg Street also came at critical times for the Beavers. He may need security getting out of the stadium with the game he called.
The other aspect of the Beavers that hamstrung the team was the ineffectiveness of their offense. The last two days Oregon State could not manage any offensive firepower. The Beavers only managed two runs the last two games. When the offense is that feeble, wins don’t come.
LSU showed how to play gorilla ball today as well and were led by their switch hitting catcher Michael Papierski. Papierski hit two home runs from each side of the plate and then Beau Jordan hit a bomb in the sixth inning to make it 6-0 and for all reasonable college baseball fans, this game was over.
Caleb Gilbert, the LSU starter, pitched 7 1⁄3 innings and the only mistake he made was a solo home run to Oregon State’s Michael Gretler. Gilbert was the beneficiary of an incredibly wide strike zone. Once Gretler hit the home run, LSU brought in their hard throwing reliever Zack Hess.
LSU was the better team yesterday and today. The offense of Oregon State disappeared and at the end of the game on Saturday their splendid season did as well.
Having a remarkable regular season is great, but when it doesn’t lead to a championship it means less. Just ask the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
Oregon State will be back in Omaha. Pat Casey has built a monster in Corvallis and that monster will be back feasting on the rest of college baseball in 2018.