June 25, 2006

College World Series Capsules

College World Series Schedule and Recaps


‘The Vulture’ lives, so do the Beavers

Gunderson works final 5.1 innings to close out Heels


By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


OMAHA, Neb. – Early in his Oregon State career, All-American closer Kevin Gunderson remembers entering a string of four games in the third inning or so, tossing a few innings while the Beavers battled back and leaving with a win.


“They called me the vulture,” said Gunderson, a lanky lefty who has saved 19 games for OSU this season. “It seemed like every time we were down when I came in, and we seemed to find a way to get some runs and get the lead.”


Go figure that the biggest save of Gunderson’s career went down as a win.


The fifth-round pick of the Atlanta Braves entered in the top of the fourth inning with his Beavers down 5-0 and tossed the final 5.1 innings to nail down the win, an 11-7 win over North Carolina that kept OSU’s season alive. Just like the Beavers, “The Vulture” lives.


Gunderson was told that he may enter the game as early as the sixth inning – OSU was in a must-win situation after dropping the first game of the best-of-three championship series 4-3 Saturday night. Those plans had to be changed when the Beavers fell behind 5-0 and were in danger of being blown out.


“They weren’t going to take me out,” he said of being put in with two outs in the fourth.


There appeared to be a small window where that might happen. Oregon State scored four times in the sixth inning to take an 11-5 lead after taking the lead in the fourth with a seven-run frame.


“The only thought we had was that we needed to win this game or we were going home a day earlier than we want to,” OSU head coach Pat Casey said of possibly taking Gunderson out.


Gunderson allowed a two-run homer to Tim Federowicz, but otherwise was splendid. He threw 78 pitches, much more than he usually needs to face his normal 4.8 batters a game.


“What more could we ask for than to go out tomorrow night with one game on the line for a national championship,” Gunderson said. “There’s no time to be sore and to be hurt right now. It’s going to be one game tomorrow night. Oregon State vs. North Carolina.”