NCAA Baseball Regional: Oregon State headed to Super Regional, Arizona bounced
Corvallis Regional: Oregon State 8, Yale 1
The Beavers did exactly what one would expect the No. 1 team in the country to do in a Regional on home turf: Oregon State plastered any and all opposition. After this second 8-1 dismantling of the Bulldogs -- Oregon State also beat Yale 11-0 on Saturday -- the Beavers are headed to their sixth Super Regional.
— Oregon St. Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) June 5, 2017
In all, Oregon State outscored its oppositon 27-3 over the three games of the Corvallis regional, the best differential of any team in the country. In a fitting coincidence, the Beavers also finished 27-3 in conference play this season on their way to a Pac-12 championship. This latest win over Yale pushes Oregon State's overall record to 52-4, a staggering win percentage of .929.
The Beavers' bread and butter this season has been pitching, and that was again the case on Sunday night. Drew Rasmussen started the game and delivered four innings of one-run ball before giving way to three relievers who shut Yale out the rest of the way. Throughout the weekend, Oregon State's hurlers were rarely threatened, something that wasn't all that surprising considering the developments of the regular season: The Beavers' 1.79 team ERA leads the country, way ahead of the second-place team (2.60). Only one other club is within a full run of Oregon State in the ERA department, while Beavers pitchers Luke Heimlich (0.76 ERA) and Jake Thompson (1.30 ERA) lead the country at one-two in the individual rankings.
Offensively, third baseman Michael Gretler gave Oregon State all it needed against Yale, blasting a three-run homer in a five-run third inning that all but put the game out of reach. From there on out, this was a Regional coronation party behind the Beavers' lethal pitching staff.
It all sets up one dandy of a Super Regional: Oregon State will face the winner of Clemson and Vanderbilt, two reputable programs from the South. This is setting up to be a prime opportunity for West Coast baseball to showcase itself on the national stage.
Lubbock Regional: Sam Houston State 9, Arizona 3
Arizona's season is over. Sam Houston State beat the Wildcats 9-3 in an elimation game of the Lubbock Regional, whittling the surving Pac-12 field in the NCAA Tournament down to only one team -- No. 1 Oregon State. Arizona was never really in contention on Sunday afternoon: The Wildcats trailed throughout, as Sam Houston State scored a run in the first before piling on eight more during a hellish second inning. The Bearkats sent 11 batters to the plate, and did all of their damage on the scoreboard after two men were out.
Arizona scrapped back with two runs in the fourth -- Nick Quintana and Cesar Salazar both delivered RBI hits -- but this game was well in hand for Sam Houston State at that point. The Wildcats do leave Lubbock having made an excellent memory: Alfonso Rivas' walk-off homer in the 12th inning Saturday ended a marathon of a game that lasted nearly hours following a lightning delay. Arizona is also the only Pac-12 team to have accomplished this feat:
"This team did it the right way. The only team in the PAC to be in the tourney back-to-back years. Very proud to be their coach." @UACoachJ
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) June 4, 2017
But a prolonged postseason run was not in the cards for this team. Arizona was likely exahusted following a 10-hour day at the ballpark Saturday, and finishes 2017 with a 38-21 record.