June 26, 2006

College World Series Capsules

College World Series Schedule and Recaps


Beavers’ tired arms have just enough left in them


By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


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.


He didn’t disappoint.


“It started with Jonah, he gave everybody hope,” Beavers shortstop Darwin Barney said.


Nickerson tossed 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 innings.


He then gutted his way through two outs in the seventh before leaving the Rosenblatt Stadium mound after 323 pitches over seven days.


“Jonah had 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 with UNC.


“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 unbelievable."