June 10, 2013

CBI Live: Game 1, KSU 6, OSU 2 (10)

CBI Live: Game 2, OSU 12, KSU 4

Beavers Slip Past Wildcats

By Patrick Meyers

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State eliminated tenacious Kansas State 4-3 Monday night to advance to the College World Series, the Beavers’ fifth trip – and fourth in the past nine years – to Omaha.


Danny Hayes (left) hit a two-run home run in the second inning to give the Beavers a strong start, and with outstanding pitching from Ben Wetzler, OSU (50-11) seemed in control of the game. But like in Game 1 of the Super Regional, Kansas State (45-19) kept nipping and crawling its way back.


It almost seemed like déjà vu when the Wildcats’ Shane Conlon stepped up to the plate for the eventual final out with Oregon State leading 4-3 – the Beavers led by a run on Saturday before the Wildcats rallied in the ninth and won the game in the 10th.  This time, the Beavers actually were able to close it out, and Game 1 starter Matt Boyd was able to get some revenge as he was called on to close the game just a little over 48 hours after pitching seven innings.


“It is a grind and we played a very good Kansas State team that just never quit,” Beavers coach Pat Casey said.  “Ben Wetzler was tougher than nails, and Matt Boyd coming out and finishing with Max not being able to throw. Just a fantastic team effort and I’m proud of all of these guys.”


Casey said he predicted this trip to Omaha last year after being eliminated in Regionals and after a pleasant phone call in the offseason.


“We were in the locker room at LSU last year and I said I don’t know when, but the guys on this roster are going to go to Omaha,” Casey said. “When Matt Boyd called me this summer and said he was coming back, I said we’re going to go to Omaha.”


Boyd, who was a reliever until becoming a starter this year, was chosen in the 13th round of last year’s draft by the Cincinnati Reds and did not sign. After a trip to the College World Series, the senior will report to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, which drafted him in the sixth round this week.


Wetzler’s grinding performance appeared like it might last the whole game but lasted 7.2 innings, with nine hits, three runs and five strikeouts on 131 pitches.


“It takes everybody one through nine in the lineup, the guys on the bench and the bullpen behind us,” Wetzler said.  “I couldn’t be happier with it happening to another team. Everybody loves each other, there’s not one guy who doesn’t like another guy. It’s truly a family. It is truly a blessing to be going to Omaha.”


The resilient Wildcats played from behind most of the series, but continually showed its mettle.


Kansas State trailed 4-0 after Kavin Keyes doubled in the fourth and the Beavers added another run in the fifth on an error. Wildcats closer Jake Matthys (9-2), making his first start of the year, allowed three hits and four runs (two earned) and struck out five in 4.2 innings.


Trailing 4-1 in the eighth, Blair DeBord had a two-run double down the left-field line to score two and chase Wetzler. Boyd came on and allowed a single to left to RJ Santigate. DeBord tried to score the tying run from second, but Michael Conforto got up from his diving attempt and threw to the plate to nail DeBord and preserve the 4-3 lead.


As he did Saturday, Ross Kivett got on base in the ninth, this time with a single. But Boyd was able to close out the Wildcats on a pair of fly outs.


“This is one of the only times that I have been speechless all year,” Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. “I have to give a lot of credit to Oregon State. They pitched a great starting pitcher and really held us down and we could never really gain any momentum until late in the game.”


(photo courtesy of OSU Media Relations)