College World Series: Oregon State advances to championship series after defeating Mississippi State once again
The never-say-die Beavers have successfully clawed their way to the College World Series finals.
Facing elimination for the fourth straight game, Oregon State used a breakout third inning and a strong performance from starter Kevin Abel to defeat Mississippi State, 5-2, on Saturday in Omaha and earn a bid to the championship series against Arkansas. It marks Oregon State's first appearance in the finals since 2007, when the Beavers won back-to-back titles.
The Razorbacks breezed through their side of the bracket by winning all three of their games. Action begins between the two squads Monday at 4 p.m. PT in a best-of-three series.
The Beavers' run in Omaha is historic in its own right. Oregon State is the first team to reach the championship series after losing its opening game since South Carolina in 2010.
Oregon State 5, Mississippi State 2
Oregon State opened the game's scoring in the third inning when Adley Rutschman continued his hot CWS tear. He roped a two-out single up the middle to score Cadyn Grenier, who began the rally by doubling to left. Trevor Larnach moved Grenier over to third with a single before setting up Rutschman, who recorded RBI No. 80 of the season.
One batter later, Michael Gretler blooped a hit into shallow center to score Rutschman. Tyler Malone continued the breakout inning with a towering homer to right-center field, making the game 5-0. All of the Beavers' five runs in the third were charged to Bulldog starter Ethan Small.
Mississippi State built a rally in the sixth with runners on second and third before a nifty double play ended the frame. Michael Gretler snagged the low liner and threw to second where Nick Madrigal was awaiting to double off the runner. Abel walked off the mound with a roar.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 24, 2018
Abel was quite impressive on the mound for Oregon State. He fanned five batters over seven innings of work while allowing just three hits and one run. He was efficient, too, with 95 pitches. Abel, a freshman, has been strong against SEC opponents this postseason — he blanked LSU over eight innings back in the Corvallis Regional.
Jake Mulholland came in to relieve Abel and allowed the potential game-winning run to bat before coaxing a groundout to complete the save.