A continuation of this.
After taking two of three games from UCLA and moving their Pac-10 record to 10-14, the Beavers felt they had a decent chance to make the post-season. While teams like Vanderbilt and North Carolina watched the Selection show to see what their national seed would be, Oregon State players, coaches, and fans alike all watched the show, hoping they would get a chance to play in the post-season.
And play in the post-season, they did.
The Beavers started things off with a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia for the NCAA Regionals. They were seeded as the #3 team in the four team regional that included Virginia, Rutgers, Lafayette, and the Beavers.
Oregon State took care of Rutgers the first day 5-1, but then lost to Virginia the next night in a 13 inning thriller. The only way the Beavers could have won the Charlottesville regional at this point was to survive the losers bracket. Coming into the regional, the Beavers had won six straight elimination games, dating back to the 2006 College World Series. They extended that streak to seven with a win over Rutgers, then took the streak to eight after they came back to beat Virginia 5-3 later in the same day. Daniel Turpen pitched over seven innings on the day; three to close out the Rutgers game, and then four and a third in starting the Virginia game.
These two wins forced a deciding final game between Oregon State and Virginia. Each team had beaten the other once in the Regional already, and the winner would advance to the Super Regionals.
Oregon State got on the board first with a two run first inning, then Virginia countered with a three run second inning. Oregon State would then put up three more in the bottom of the second to take a 5-3 lead, and then never looked back. The Beavers would end up scoring two more runs in the sixth off of a two-run Jason Ogata single, putting the Beavers out of the Cavalier's reach, and sending them into the Super Regionals.
If it wasn't for a huge upset, the Beavers would have had to play Vanderbilt, the #1 team in the nation led by junior pitcher David Prince. Michigan upset the Commodores 4-3 in extra innings of the deciding game of the Regional to set up a match-up with the Beavers. Due to a field renovation on the campus of Michigan, the Beavers would host.
In Game 1, the Beavers were shut out by the Wolverines until Joey Wong's RBI single with two outs in the top of the ninth inning scored Braden Wells from second. Joey's hit would be Oregon State's only base knock of the game, and the run scored by Wells would be Oregon State's only run of the game. It was all the Beavers needed, as they went on to beat the Wolverines 1-0. With the win, the Beavers took a 1-0 series lead, and were only one win away from Omaha.
They would pick up an easy victory over Michigan the next day by a score of 8-2. This would mark the beginning of a relatively easy cakewalk through the College World Series bracket.
The Beavers arrived in Omaha on Wednesday evening, a day before opening ceremonies, and three days before their first game with Cal State Fullerton. They took part in the Ceremony on Thursday, then practiced on Friday and got some time off.
In the closest game the Beavers would be a part of in the 2007 College World Series, they beat Cal State Fullerton by a score of 3-2 on Saturday night. This marked the first time in the last three years that Oregon State has won their opening game in the CWS, putting them into the winners bracket. Freshman pitcher Jorge Reyes went in this one, and was helped out by two home runs by Scott Santschi and Mike Lissman. Lissman's home run came in the first inning, and Santschi's came in the seventh, the inning Jorge left the game. It was the first homer of the season for Scott.
The Beavers would stay in the winner's bracket after a 12-6 win over Arizona State. The Sun Devils swept the Beavers earlier in the season, but for the most part, the Beaver bats prevailed in this one. Everyone on the team will tell you that the Beavers should have won this game by more than six runs, and that would have happened if it wasn't for an Arizona State scare in the late innings of the game. Oregon State scored all of their runs in the first six innings, and the Sun Devils got five of their six in the last three. It was 12-1 Beavers at one point.
Mike Stutes shut down the Sun Devils until he came out of the game in the seventh after he walked a few guys. Blake Keitzman and Mark Grbavac both came in and couldn't get much accomplished, so that prompted another appearance for Joe Patterson. Mark did strike out Brett Wallace, Arizona State's slugger who was the Pac-10 player of the year, but then proceded to go 0-12 in Omaha. JoePa got things back under control, then finished off the Sun Devils, putting Oregon State in the driver's seat of the lower CWS bracket.
One would imagine that a team of Arizona State's caliber would bounce back from a loss and come back through the loser's bracket, but the Anteaters of Cal Irvine stopped them in their tracks. The 'Eaters took the Devils into extra innings, and wound up beating Arizona State in the tenth. Beaver Nation breathed a big sign of relief after that one, because nobody wanted to play the Sun Devils again.
The 10-inning game against the Sun Devils was the second consecutive game that UCI had taken into extra innings. They eliminated Cal State Fullerton in 13 innings the night before they beat the Sun Devils, so when they got to the Beavers, there wasn't much gas left in the tank. The Beavers would take care of them by a score of 7-1 to advance to the Championship round.
The Beavers would find out later that they were paired up North Carolina, a rematch of last year's Championship series. Only this year, the roles were reversed. North Carolina had to battle through the elimination games, while Oregon State took the high road.
Jorge would get the start in Game 1, and he would end up going six innings, giving up three runs. JoePa, who pitched in every game, came in to seal the deal, picking up his second save of the season. The Beavers won 11-4. Jordan Lennerton got his second home run of the CWS in the second inning, a two run shot off of Alex White. The Beavers never went away from that point on, scoring in every inning but the fourth. This win put the Beavers a victory away from their second consecutive NCAA Championship.
In Game 2, Mike Stutes took the hill, and after a shaky start, went on to pitch five and a third. Anton Maxwell, Mark Grbavac, and Joe Paterson also made appearances in the game. Paterson went the final inning and a third, and recorded the final out of the game.
Going into the top of the ninth, the Beavers led 7-3. Just for fun, Jordan Lennerton clanked his third homer of the series, his second in two nights, off the second wall in straightaway center field. This put the Beavers up 9-3, and that would end up being the final.
Of the 45 innings of baseball the Beavers played in Omaha, they only trailed in one.
One of the main reasons Oregon State was so successful down the stretch was their pitching. The unsung hero of the series would have to be Daniel Turpen, a guy who comes in as a fourth starter and shuts down a hot Cal Irvine team to get us into the Championship. Having Daniel as that fourth starter really helped us in that it allowed us to turn JoePa into a relief pitcher. That plan was incredibly effective, as Joe threw in every game in Omaha, and hardly ever struggled.
But still, kudos go to everyone: Mitch, Jordan, Joey, Darwin, Lonnie, Mike, Chris, Scott, Braden, John, Jason, Jorge, Joe, Mike, Daniel, Mark, Anton, Blake, Eddie and of course coach Casey, Spencer, Lees, and Wong. And anyone else I forgot.
Back to back, baybee!