Gophers Battle But Come Up Short in World Series Bid
CORVALLIS, OR (gophersports.com) – The No. 10-ranked Gopher Baseball team battled until the final out with the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, but Oregon State eked out a 6-3 win over Minnesota to clinch a berth in the College World Series, claiming the NCAA Super Regional series two games to none Saturday evening.
No. 3-seed Oregon State (49-10-1) scored in the first inning for the second-straight game, scraping across a single run against Gophers right-hander Patrick Fredrickson on an infield single off the bat of Trevor Larnach. No. 14-seed Minnesota (44-15) provided the answer when Cole McDevitt singled leading off the third, advancing on a wild pitch, and came around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Ben Mezzenga.
The Gophers took advantage of a pair of hit batters in the fourth when Jordan Kozicky drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Terrin Vavra who singled leading off the inning, but the Gophers couldn’t add any more. Oregon State had an answer in the top of the fifth when the first two men reached on a walk and a nearly perfect bunt single. Kyle Nobach would come around to score on a base hit by Steven Kwan.
Luke Pettersen singled leading off the bottom of the fifth, eventually coming around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Micah Coffey with Minnesota regaining a 3-2 lead after five complete. Fredrickson returned to the mound for the sixth, but a close ball four chased him from the game after 5+ innings, allowing two earned on seven hits and three walks.
“We were ready to play tonight. Patrick Fredrickson hung in there and made some pitches. We were fortunate to get out of the first inning thanks to a heck of a play by Luke Pettersen,” said head coach John Anderson, who wrapped his 37th season. “We would have liked to get a little more out of Patrick, but he walked Larnach on what we thought was a strike pitch and forced us to play our hand. We had to get Max Meyer in there earlier than we wanted to, and he got tired at the end.”
Max Meyer entered with a runner on in the top of the sixth and promptly struck out two in the inning, getting the Gophers off the field. On the other side, Bryce Fehmel worked 6+ innings for the Beavers, allowing three earned on six hits while striking out six. After Pettersen led off the seventh with a walk, he handed the ball off to Christian Chamberlain who would hit a batter but collect three strikeouts in the inning.
Larnach would reach in his first four plate appearances for Oregon State, walking with one out in the eighth, and he came around to score the game-tying run on another RBI single by Nobach. The Beavers would chase Meyer after loading the bases with one out in the top of the ninth. Jackson Rose entered and struck out Larnach for the second out of the inning, but Adley Rutschman singled up the middle to break up the tie, scoring two. The Beavers added another run on a bases-loaded hit by pitch later in the inning.
“We made some good pitches, but we were just unfortunate. That’s baseball sometimes,” said Anderson. “You don’t always get the results you deserve. It was a well-played game. I’m really proud of our guys for competing all year long.”