UC-Irvine (36-22, 15-9 in the Big West) at #1 Oregon St. (43-12, 23-7 in the PAC-12) Goss Stadium / 8:00 PM PDT / ESPNU / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
Top National Seed Oregon St. and UC-Irvine square off tonight in the second day winner's bracket game of the Corvallis Regional, and its again the ESPNU nightcap to a full day of NCAA Tournament action.
The third seed Anteaters overcame an early 2-0 deficit to UNLV, and roared back to take a 10-3 win over the second seed Rebels, snapping a 6 game losing streak that UC-Irvine suffered through at the end of the regular season.
The Beavers also came from behind, after giving up a solo home run to North Dakota St.'s Kyle Kleinendorst, scratching out a 2-1 win, with Dylan Davis delivering the game winning margin with a solo homer of his own in the 7th.
But it was sophomore RHP Andrew Moore who was the hero of the game. A surprise last minute starter as coach Pat Casey again shook up the rotation, Moore had to overcome a bad night by the Beaver bats, where Oregon St. went 0-12 with runners in scoring position, and left 11 runners on base. He did so by striking out an Oregon St. post season record 14 North Dakota St. batters, and without issuing a single walk in the 8 innings he worked.
Oregon St. needed the gritty effort to avoid becoming the 4th National Seed to lose on opening day of the tournament, after a record 3 (Florida St., Louisiana-Lafayette, and Florida) were defeated.
After using their first team All-American Andrew Morales to get the upset win over UNLV, the Anteaters will go with sophomore LHP Elliott Surrey (6-4, 2.12 ERA) to deliver the first pitch. Oregon St. is the designated visitor tonight, and will bat first.
Surrey pitched for the Corvallis Knights last summer, and led the West Coast League in ERA.
The Beavers will answer with junior first team All-American LHP Jace Fry (11-1, 1.43 ERA), the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, out first.
Kavin Keyes will return to first base tonight, after playing third last night, and Caleb Hamilton will be back in the lineup at third base for the Beavers this evening.
It will be a reunion of sorts for Casey and UC-Irvine coach Mike Gillespie. Gillespie was the coach at USC when the Trojans last played in the post-season, meeting the Beavers in the 2005 Corvallis Super Regional. When the Beavers took that series 2-1, it sent them to the first of three consecutive CWS appearances.
Tonight's loser will come back at 2 PM tomorrow, and take on UNLV in an elimination game. The Rebels eliminated North Dakota St. this afternoon, with a 2-1 win that sent the Bison back to Fargo.