Beavers rally to win Series opener
College World Series
at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska
Oregon State 6, Cal State Fullerton 5
In a hole early, the top-ranked Beavers used patience, perseverance and sterling work from the bullpen to open the College World Series with a win on Saturday.
The Beavers (55-4) will play at 4 p.m. PT Monday against LSU, which rallied to defeat fourth-ranked Florida State 5-4 in Saturday's second game.
Florida State and Cal State Fulerton (39-23) will square off in the elimination bracket of the eight-team tournament at 11 a.m. Monday.
The top seed in the tournament, Oregon State found itself in an early hole before rallying for its 22nd consecutive victory.
Down 5-1 after five innings, the Beavers scored four times in the bottom of the sixth to tie it.
Freshman Adley Rutschman drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single up the middle in the bottom of the eighth.
That two-out rally started after KJ Harrison drove the ball to the wall in left-center field only to be robbed of extra bases when Fullerton center fielder Scott Hurst made a running catch as he jumped into the wall.
After a video replay upheld Hurst's catch, OSU's Trevor Larnach singled to center on the next pitch from Blake Workman. Jack Anderson, who was on base five times, was then hit by a pitch. Rutschman — who had made the third out of the inning in his first four at bats — then drove a 1-1 pitch into center field to bring home Larnach for the 6-5 lead.
Drew Rasmussen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts to earn the save.
Jake Mulholland (7-1) pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief of starter Jake Thompson to earn the win.
Mulholland, a freshman, did not allow a hit while striking out three and walking only one of the 13 batters he faced.
The course of the game changed when Fullerton's Colton Eastman took over on the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning and struggled with his control. Normally a starter, Eastman replaced Fullerton starter Connor Seabold and found trouble by walking four Beavers before he was pulled.
With one out, Nick Madrigal hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Michael Gretler and pull the Beavers within 5-2.
Harrison then drew a walk on a 13-pitch at bat to bring up cleanup hitter Larnich with the bases full. After Eastman threw two balls to Larnich, Workman replaced Eastman, and Larnich delivered a ground ball single up the middle to plate a pair and make the score 5-4.
Anderson's drive up the middle for his third hit of the game brought home the tying run. Rutschman, the ninth Beavers' hitter in the inning, flew out to end that big inning.
The sixth-inning rally followed a pair of good defensive plays in the top of the sixth. Rutschman, the catcher, made a diving catch on a bunt attempt for a double play and Steven Kwan made a difficult catch in left field.
Fullerton started fast.
Timmy Richards homered to left with one out in the first to put the Titans ahead 3-0.
A leadoff walk to Hurst, a sacrifice bunt and a hit batsman preceded the home run, which came on a 3-1 pitch from Thompson.
Thompson, who is 14-0 this season, allowed a season-high five runs and was knocked out in the top of the fourth when Chris Hudgins delivered a two-run base hit with two out to put the Titans up 5-1.
The Beavers scored one in the bottom of the second when Gretler doubled to right and scored from third when Kwan hit into a fielder's choice.
Oregon State loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with Kwan reaching on catcher's interference, Madrigal singling to right and Anderson getting hit by a pitch. But after working a 3-0 count, Rutschman flied out to left on a full-count pitch to end the threat.