On Saturday afternoon, Oregon State suffered just their sixth loss of the season. The loss was, however, the Beavers second in CWS bracket play, eliminating them from the postseason. This also marked the first time that Oregon State has lost back to back games since May 10th and 13th of 2016.
Tiger starting pitcher Caleb Gilbert really couldn’t have asked for a better day. The right hander threw 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts holding the Beavers to just two hits. The OSU offense was only able to total three hits on the day compared to LSU’s eight.
Oregon State started Bryce Fehmel after Pat Casey originally indicated that he would start Drew Rasmussen earlier in the week. Fehmel only pitched 2.1 innings giving up four hits and four earned runs with two walks and a strikeout. Rasmussen did make a late appearance in relief along with Brandon Eisert.
LSU got a two out rally going in the second with a walk and then a double. Then catcher Michael Papierski hit a three run home run to give the Tigers the lead.
In the bottom of the third, LSU had a runner on first with no outs. A grounder came to Cadyn Grenier, who had more than enough time to execute the double play, but ended up just throwing to first for the force out. LSU made the Beavers pay in the next at bat with a single from Antoine Duplantis that scored the runner at second.
Another homer from Papierski in the fourth and one from Beau Jordan in the sixth put the Tigers up 6-0. The Beavs finally got on the board in the eighth inning with a solo Michael Gretler home run.
A story line looming over this game was the “pitcher friendly”, in the words of LSU coach Paul Mainieri, strike zone of the home plate umpire. For the duration of the game, both teams’ pitchers had good luck getting strikes called with pitches well outside and off the plate. The most notorious example would probably be an Adley Rutschman called strike in the third inning where the ball was nearly in the opposite batters box. (This happened again in the ninth with Trevor Larnach)
On a positive note, we saw Rutschman continue his streak of stellar defensive play taking another bunt right out of the air.
Oregon State finishes the year 56-6 which is the highest win total in school history. If you’re Oregon State, there’s plenty to be proud of with what this team accomplished and we’ll review all of it in an upcoming post. Certainly not the way we pictured the season ending, but the Beavs have plenty of talent returning for another run at the title in 2018.