Oregon State survives elimination game, beats Louisville 11-4
Even a massive lead in the ninth inning wouldn't stop Oregon State center fielder Max Gordon, the Pac-12's maestro of defensive web gems, from making a spectacular diving catch in Monday's 11-4 Beaver victory over Louisville.
That play was emblematic of the day's action: Just two days after suffering a demoralizing 5-4 Omaha-opening loss to Mississippi State, Pat Casey's club bounced back with an impressive dose of wire-to-wire effort and energy. They eliminated the Cardinals behind a 10-run deluge in the third and fourth frames. On the strength of six strikeouts, lefty starter Ben Wetzler did the rest of the job, tossing 6.1 one-run innings to earn the victory.
Louisville provided Oregon State with its share of help, committing four errors through the early innings that fueled the Beavers' attack. Oregon State might have caught a break in the fourth inning when Dylan Davis was ruled to have barely beaten out a two-out ground ball with the bases loaded. After the questionable call, Gordon hustled to score all the way from second base on the back end, and the floodgates subsequently opened for five more runs on the frame.
The Beavers again repeated what they have done so well all season long: they made the opposition suffer for its mistakes. Since the top three hitters in the Oregon State batting order finished a combined 7-for-13, Louisville had no margin for error in the first place, so this one got ugly quickly. It was 10-0 by the end of the fourth.
The Cardinals become the first team eliminated, while the Beavers move on to another elimination game. This one takes place at 5 p.m. PT Wednesday against the loser of Monday night's Mississippi State-Indiana matchup.
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That's the next part of what will potentially be a difficult climb out of the losers' bracket for Oregon State, a team that came just feet short of a walk-off victory to open the College World Series against Mississippi State on Saturday. If there is a club in this field built to recover from such an early gut-punch, though, it is the Beavers. They boast the nation's deepest starting pitching staff -- a tournament essential -- and will now play Wednesday's elimination game with momentum. Remember that Oregon State came back to win the 2006 national title after dropping its first game in Omaha, so consider today's victory a loud announcement that the Orange and Black isn't done yet.
David Lombardi has covered Pac-12 baseball since 2007. He’s a play-by-play voice and on-air reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.