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Beavers’ tired arms have just enough left in them
By Sean Ryan
OMAHA, Neb. –
Moments after being named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player,
Jonah Nickerson put the trophy back on the table it rested a few minutes before,
and mentioned how the trophy was too heavy to lug around anymore.
Who could blame
Oregon State’s iron man for being a little tired?
The Beavers rode
Nickerson’s right arm to a win over Georgia last Monday, and two days later, the
junior picked in the seventh round by the Detroit Tigers, shut down Rice in
another elimination game. OSU turned to him again on three days’ rest to take
down the Tar Heels.
“It started with
Jonah, he gave everybody hope,” Beavers shortstop Darwin Barney said.
6.2 innings with six hits, two unearned runs, one walk and seven strikeouts in a
fantastic duel with the Tar Heels’ Daniel Bard. After cruising through four
innings on 48 pitches, the pitches piled up rather quickly in the next two
He then gutted his
way through two outs in the seventh before leaving the Rosenblatt Stadium mound
after 323 pitches over seven days.
absolutely no issues with anything other than his legs and his back [which] were
getting tight,” Beavers head coach Pat Casey said. “Spence [OSU pitching coach
Dan Spencer] went to take him out of the game and he said, no, I’m staying.”
That was the
mentality of the rest of the OSU pitching staff, namely Dallas Buck and Kevin
Gunderson, who each logged long innings in the first two games of the battle
“If there was a
fight between Gundy and Buck to see who got to pitch, I was going to have to
scrape up my old 6-dog Gundy because Buck’s a little bigger,” Casey said. “They
all want to pitch, they want to get in the game. It’s kind of fitting that it
would go Jonah, Dallas, Gundy.”
Buck came on to
throw 1.1 innings and post the win, giving the junior a 13-3 record this season
and a 28-9 mark overall.
“Don’t let them
score,” was Buck’s philosophy when he came in with two men on in the eighth, an
eighth that ended with an attempted steal of home that was thwarted by Buck
striking out Benji Johnson as Josh Horton slid in safely.
Gunderson got the
final two outs for the biggest save of the 20 he saved this year and 37 in three
years as a closer.
“What Jonah did
and what the rest of the staff did – it’s just unbelievable to come back on that
short of a rest,” OSU left fielder Cole Gillespie said. “This time of year, you
can’t really think about that. You just have to come out and do your job. It’s