OSU Found Sparks Down the Stretch
OMAHA, Neb. - Oregon State may have been down to its final out when it
traveled to Los Angeles for a crucial conference series with UCLA. There was no
margin for error. Play well, or call it a season.
One out into the first game with the Bruins, John Wallace hit a chopper on
the infield and was banged at first.
"I hit a chopping ground ball
that everyone thought I beat out," Wallace said. "Coach Casey was out there and
within 2 seconds, he was already thrown out of the game. I think that did kind
of spark everybody. From there on out, everyone was fired up and that was a
series we needed to be fired up for. It got us going. Luckily we were able to
win those two games and get us into the Regional, and we just took it from
way to their second straight national title.
season of many ups - and many downs - Oregon State had a couple of "sparks" that
seemed to get them on the road to Omaha. One was the UCLA series, the other was
the Charlottesville Regional.
"We went down there knowing that
we had to win at least two of three," said OSU right fielder Scott Santschi. "The second out of the entire weekend, coach
Casey got tossed. There was a terrible call at first. He was livid, and he got
tossed. I don’t know if I’d say that was the point, but that game definitely, we
came together. That was when we started our flex thing on 3-2-1."
Fast forward a week and the
Beavers were in Charlottesville, Va. They had lost a 13-inning, five-hour game
to host Virginia, a top-10 team for much of the year. After eliminating Rutgers
as Jorge Reyes and Daniel Turpen combined on a seven-hitter in a 5-2 win, Oregon
State trailed the Cavaliers 3-2 entering the eighth. Chris Hopkins hit one of
his two homers all year to lead off what turned to be a three-run inning of a
5-3 win. The next day, Jason Ogata drove in four, and the OSU pitchers gutted
through a 7-3 win to send the Beavers into the Super Regional round.
"They definitely helped us get on this run," shortstop Darwin Barney said of
Virginia. "That first game against them that
we came back in the eighth really sparked us. It gave us the belief that hey,
this can happen again."
"It all seemed like it clicked for us. From there on, it was almost like we had
that magic back from last year."
The Beavers didn't lose
again, winning 10 straight to claim their second straight national title.