Beavers’ big inning pays off
Oregon St.'s seven-run fourth proves too much for Cards
OMAHA, Neb. -- One team’s dream inning was another team’s nightmare in Monday’s College World Series elimination game as Louisville exited with an 11-4 loss to Oregon State.
The Beavers broke the game wide open in the fourth, scoring seven runs – all with two outs - to take a commanding 10-0 lead, which they would not relinquish. It is the most runs scored by one team in an inning at TD Ameritrade Park in the CWS, and proved to be the game’s margin of victory. Oregon State sent 12 batters to the plate, and Louisville used three pitchers in the seemingly endless inning.
“We just didn't play well, didn't play clean there in the third and fourth innings and it got out of hand,” Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell said. “And unfortunately that happens, especially when you're playing a really good opponent.”
Centerfielder and nine-hole hitter Max Gordon belted a one-out single to left field to get the Cardinals going. Following a Tyler Smith strikeout, the Beavers strung together three hits – singles by Andy Peterson and Michael Conforto, and then a bunt basehit by Dylan Davis. Starting pitcher Jeff Thompson fielded the ball cleanly, threw to first the bang-bang play, but the umpire ruled Davis safe and two runs crossed the plate to keep the rally going.
“We don't have the luxury of instant replay,” McDonnell said. “It's unfortunate, obviously. But I'm not going to blame an umpire. It's a bang-bang play and more times than not, they're right. If we play cleanly behind them, you know, we only give up a run. I don't think that play cost us the game by any means. We have to handle that better and just play cleaner. We just didn't play clean [Monday].”
The bunt play ended Thompson’s outing after 3.2 innings as reliever Cody Ege entered the contest. Ege faced three batters without earning an out, walking Danny Hayes and hitting Ryan Barnes. Sandwiched in between the free passes, a Kavin Keyes grounder to shortstop could have stopped the bleeding, but shortstop Sutton Whiting’s errant throw added another two runs to the board.
“In Omaha, that's the most important part -- playing defense, doing the fundamental things, and that's huge,” Smith said. “It was huge in a game like this, and it hurt them.”
Kyle Funkhouser relieved Ege and proceeded to serve up a bases-loaded walk to Jake Rodriguez. Gordon notched his second hit of the inning with a single to leftfield, scoring another pair of runs to make is a 10-0 advantage for the Beavers.
Gordon’s two hits in the fourth inning matched his total for the previous seven NCAA postseason games.
“Max is always a spark for us,” Casey said. “Really. And I told him after the Kansas State game, I said, ‘When we put you in the lineup permanently, we really got consistent as a club.’ And he just does a great job for us.”
Oregon State improved to 15-5 in CWS elimination games under Pat Casey with the victory. The Beavers are now 11-1 this season after a loss, and have lost back-to-back games just once this season in doubleheader against Washington on April 20.
“Coach Casey has taught us little things always win the big games,” Gordon said. “So we just come out and we played real aggressive on the defensive side and sacrifice our bodies if need be. I just think that if we continue to play good defense, then we can give ourselves a good shot at helping our pitchers out and doing better on the offensive side.”