See also: Box Score
THE GAME AT A GLANCE
Turning Point: Georgia had finally strung together a couple of hits against Oregon State starter Jonah Nickerson in the fifth inning, when Matt Olson doubled and Ryan Peisel came up with an infield hit. But Nickerson got the next batter, Gordon Beckham, to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, taking the steam out of the Bulldogs rally.
The Hero: Nickerson showed why he is an All-American, holding Georgia to a pair of runs on four hits over seven innings of work, striking out three.
You May Not Have Noticed: The Bulldogs only got the leadoff man on base twice all game, in the fifth and sixth innings. Both times, Nickerson induced double plays to curtail their momentum.
OMAHA–Oregon State finally played that
style of game it wanted, and in doing so, finally won a game at the
College World Series.
The Beavers got runners on base early,
opening up an aggressive offensive attack of bunts, steals and
well-timed hits that it hadn’t had the opportunity to display often
in its five previous CWS games–all losses. A 5-3 win Monday against
Georgia kept Oregon State alive in this year’s tournament and kept the Beavers from
becoming the first team to ever lose its first six CWS games.
“Coming into the second game, you
could say we were looser,” Oregon State center fielder Tyler
Graham. “Today was one of those days where we had nothing to
lose. We went two and ‘cue last year, and we were hungry for a win.”
The win helped Oregon State erase the
memories of an 11-1 drubbing by Miami in its first CWS game.
“They put it to us,” closer
Kevin Gunderson said of the loss to Miami. “They came out more
aggressive than we did and put us in a hole. We’re not the kind of
team that’s going to hit three-run homers, that’s not the kind of
offense that we play.”
Oregon State became the aggressor
against Georgia (47-23). Though it faced a lefthander for the second
straight game, coach Pat Casey shuffled his lineup, moving lefthanded
batter John Wallace to the No. 2 spot, sliding Shea McFeely up to the
cleanup spot and shifting DH Mike Lissman down to sixth. The moves
paid off as every Oregon State batter finished the day with at least
one hit, five different players scored runs and four drove in runs.
“It was more our style of play
today,” Casey said. “It helped us that we were able to get
on the board early and do the types of things we like to do. We were
able to do some things by starting runners and moving guys over.”
Graham started things for the Beavers
(45-15) by singling and scoring the game’s first run in the second
inning. His two-out bunt single down the third-base line an inning
later scored Cole Gillespie from third to give starter Jonah
Nickerson a 2-0 working margin and the entire team a dose of
Nickerson (12-4) provided his own
boost. He mixed his four-pitch repertoire for seven innings, allowing
two runs on four hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three
while using a quick, sure-handed defense to record outs.
Graham made two highlight-reel plays in
center field, a running leaping grab at the wall and a diving
catch–both of which stole hits from Joey Side and delighted the
crowd of 17,135 at Rosenblatt Stadium.
When Georgia had runners in
scoring position, Oregon State erased them from the bases with three
key double plays. Freshman shortstop Gordon Beckham, dropped from
third to eighth in the Georgia order because of a late-season slump,
grounded into rally-killing double plays in the fifth and ninth
innings. The fifth-inning twin killing came with no outs and runners
on first and second base, limiting the Bulldogs to only one run in an
inning where their first two hitters reached base.
“The double plays ripped out
hearts out three times,” Georgia coach Dave Perno said. “If
we didn’t hit into those double plays, who knows what happens.”
The loss ended the season for Georgia,
a team that had won its previous five elimination games in the NCAA
tournament. It marked the first time since 1998 that the Southeastern
Conference representative failed to win a game in Omaha. And, coupled
with Georgia Tech’s elimination Sunday, marked the first time since
1998 that both 0-2 teams came from the same state. Florida and
Florida State left first that year.
Oregon State avoided a similar fate for
the first time in three tries. Now it must prepare for another
elimination game Tuesday against the loser of tonight’s Miami-Rice
winner’s bracket game.
“We swung the bats and we
battled,” said Gunderson, who worked the final two innings for
his 18th save. “Hopefully, we’ll keep playing Oregon State
baseball and doing the things we do. It’s going to be a tough road,
but we’re ready for it.”