College World Series Capsules
College World Series Schedule
By Sean Ryan
OMAHA, Neb. –
Move over Texas. Excuse me Cal State Fullerton. Pardon me, Clemson. Make way
for Oregon State as Georgia, Miami, Rice and North Carolina did the past week at
the College World Series.
There’s a new
national power among us.
When exactly did
the Beavers reach the upper echelon of college baseball?
OSU coach Pat Casey near the plate of Rosenblatt Stadium, the Beavers’ home away
from home for one season-saving win after another.
“When those guys
came,” he elaborated, talking of guys like Jonah Nickerson, Dallas Buck, Kevin
Gunderson and Cole Gillespie. “A lot of them had options to go other places. I
said: We can do it, we can win a Pac-10 championship. [OSU sophomore shortstop
Darwin] Barney said to me: I remember you telling me that in my front room, I
just thought you were kidding me or something.”
All joking aside,
the Beavers, who boast 24 players from their home state, have arrived. They
pushed their way to the College World Series a year ago, only to go 0-2 and
prompt Gunderson to guarantee that they would be back this year. Oregon State
was the only team from 2005’s Omaha octet to make it back.
This time, they
stuck around a little longer.
“It’s an incredible
turnaround,” Gillespie said. “We were here last year, and we wanted to come back
this year and stay a little bit longer. After that first butt-whipping that
Miami gave us, we just took it one game at a time. And got to this point and two
teams battling their butts off.”
Oregon State edged
North Carolina 3-2 to win its first national title in baseball.
“Coach Casey has
done such a great job of recruiting,” said Nickerson, the CWS Most Outstanding
Player. “He’s had some tough breaks with guys signing. Everything just kind of
fell together. Freshman year, you could tell we made some improvements in the
program. They were always just one step away from being in the regional and
making things happen.”
Now, those freshmen
are juniors, and the Beavers are national champions.
Federowicz, North Carolina
First Base: Bill
Rowe, Oregon State
Second Base: Justin
Turner, Cal State Fullerton
Third Base: Shea
McFeely, Oregon State
Horton, North Carolina
Dorn, Cal State Fullerton
Gillespie, Oregon State
Outfield: Jay Cox,
David Cooper, Cal State Fullerton
Nickerson, Oregon State
Gunderson, Oregon State
Player: Jonah Nickerson, Oregon State
pitching performance for OSU at the College World Series was reminiscent of John
Hudgins' three victories for Stanford in 2003, throwing 350 pitches in three
starts. The Cardinal fell to Rice in the championship series.
Oregon State became
the third OSU to win baseball’s national championship, joining Oklahoma State
and Ohio State. The Beavers kept North Carolina from winning its first national
championship and becoming the first ACC team to win the title since Wake Forest
Fans held their
breath as Kyle Shelton’s seemingly routine ground ball to first with the
go-ahead run on second took a tricky hop on Bill Rowe at first. Rowe speared it
and underhanded to reliever Eddie Kunz for the final out of the inning.
The Beavers had a
near miss as Tyler Graham was the first Oregon State batter to get good aluminum
on Daniel Bard’s fastball in the bottom of the sixth. He hit the first pitch of
the inning just foul down the line and out of the park. Bard was still throwing
97 mph in the sixth.
While OSU starter
Jonah Nickerson’s pitch count escalated quickly in the fifth and sixth innings
(39 pitches), UNC starter Daniel Bard tossed 13 pitches in getting six straight
outs. Entering the seventh, Nickerson had 87 pitches – and more than 300 in his
three starts in seven days – and Bard had 88 pitches.
Darwin Barney’s throwing error from the hole in the top of the fifth was the
Beavers’ first in 51.1 innings. The batter, Jay Cox, came around to score UNC’s
first run. The Tar Heels added a run to tie the game at 2 on Mike Cavasinni’s
single over third on a 1-2 fastball from Jonah Nickerson.
preach to players not to make two errors on the same play. Tar Heels starter
Daniel Bard fell victim to that rule as for the second straight game, North
Carolina failed to handle the bunt. After Tyler Graham singled on a thigh-high
slider and stole second, lefty John Wallace sacrificed toward third. Bard got
off the mound fast and may have been thinking he might have a play at third. He
misplayed a barehand, then forced a wild throw past Tim Federowicz at first.
Second baseman Garrett Gore, backing up the play, corralled the ball and fired
home, where Graham was able to slide around Seth Williams for the game’s first
run. The official scoring was a sacrifice bunt with two errors charged to Bard –
one for allowing Wallace to get first when it was assumed he would be an out
from the sacrifice and another for the throwing error.
OSU leadoff man
Darwin Barney forced UNC starter Daniel Bard to throw 14 pitches in his first
two at-bats (seven pitches apiece). Bill Rowe also saw seven pitches in his
first at-bat, and Cole Gillespie saw seven in his second. Other than those four
at-bats, Bard threw only 29 pitches to the other nine batters through the first
four innings to total 57 (39 strikes).
Oregon State second
baseman Chris Kunda opened Game 3 with a bang, ranging to his left, laying out
for a full-extension dive, spearing Mike Cavasinni’s grounder and getting up to
throw him out. He nearly robbed Cavasinni again in the fourth on a chopper up
the middle, but Cavasinni was able to beat it out. Kunda nearly made a
ridiculous diving play up the middle Sunday night before making a diving play
later in the game.
The Monday night
championship drew a crowd of 18,565, nearly 8,000 less than Saturday night’s
first game. For the entire College World Series, a record 310,609 fans filled
Rosenblatt Stadium. The previous record was 263,475 last year in 11 sessions.
The average per session was 22,186.
night, the ACC was 1-5 all-time in college baseball national title games. Wake
Forest (1955) is the lone champ, while Florida State has lost three title games,
Georgia Tech one and the Demon Deacons one.
Beavers coach Pat
Casey got a smile and laugh from his players on the podium Sunday night when he
commented about his team’s rocky start in falling behind 5-0. “I was just
sitting there calm, cool and collected. I didn’t get upset or anything.” He
glanced over at his players and smiled. Their smiles and laughs verified that
there may have been a few non-publishable words and a little more emotion out of
A reporter asking a
question after OSU’s win Sunday made the statement that Oregon State and the
baseball national championship didn’t sound good together. While everyone knew
what he meant, the Beavers’ Bill Rowe smiled and said: “Oregon State and
national championship does sound good together.”
North Carolina and
Oregon State each were shooting for their first national title in college
baseball. The Tar Heels entered Monday night with 31 national titles under their
belt. The Beavers had one (track and field).
A neat nugget
courtesy of Kip Carlson in the OSU media relations department – Beavers fans may
have been familiar with the name Chad Flack before meeting UNC’s corner
infielder in the Championship Series. OSU gives the most improved wrestler the
Chad Flack Memorial Award; the award is named for former wrestler Chad Flack
(1993-96), who died in a car accident several years after graduating from OSU.
entered Monday having lost two games in a row only three times all season, and
Georgia Tech was the only team to win two in a row against the Heels. Oregon
State also has lost back-to-back games three times all year after beating UNC
snapped North Carolina’s nine-game postseason winning streak on Sunday night and
improved to 5-0 in the College World Series when facing elimination.