After a Tuesday night in Omaha, the Beavers find themselves needing to now win two consecutive games over Arkansas to win their third national title.
Arkansas won tonight’s game by a score of 4-1 despite being outhit 9-5 by OSU. While Oregon State only was credited with one error, there were other mistakes that caused this one to slip out of their grasp.
Game 1 is final.— Oregon State Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) June 27, 2018
We're back at it tomorrow at 4 p.m. PT, live on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/lN54KsMmMN
Oregon State got on the board first with an RBI single from Michael Gretler in the bottom of the second.
Fast forwarding to the bottom of the fourth, CWS umpires struck again.
Trevor Larnach was on third and passed home plate for the Beavs second run, but he was sent back after interference was called on Adley Rutschman as a throw hit him while trying to run from first base.
As @KP_Omaha pointed out on the ESPN broadcast, the rule says the baserunner has to slide on the ground on a direct line into the bag. Adley Rutschman ducked, did not slide as required, so the interference was the right call. But man, what a huge call right there.— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) June 27, 2018
Arkansas tied it up in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Grant Koch and then quickly took the lead on a bases loaded wild pitch from Heimlich. The Beavs had another crucial mistake in that inning when Nick Madrigal bobbled an easy grounder (an uncharacteristic play for him, admittedly) and what would have been a double play to end the inning turned into another run. After Heimlich was replaced by Christian Chamberlain, the freshman walked another batter with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 4-1.
That would be the end of the scoring as the Beavs threatened a few more times, but were unable to mount a game saving rally.
Luke Heimlich made the start and looked like his usual self right up until that fifth inning. He finished his start at 4.1 innings with three hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks with five strikeouts. Christian Chamberlain replaced him in the fifth and finished with 4.2 innings, two hits, no runs, five walks, and eleven strikeouts. The freshman has really shown how much he has developed this year since the Beavs got to Omaha.
to #34— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 27, 2018
4.2 IP | 21 BF | 11 K | 2 H | 0 R pic.twitter.com/ojfWhlGwTa
The umpiring was once again rough for the Beavs. Between the interference call on Rutschman and that foul ball that was overturned but sent Steven Kwan and Grenier to strange bases because “conservative placement of runners” in the bottom of the fifth alone, most of Twitter was just Oregon State fans banging their heads into their keyboards for most of this game.
Not to be lost in all of that though was the pitching performance of Arkansas’s Blaine Knight. He admittedly looked really stellar up there with six strikeouts and a walk in his six inning start. There’s a reason he’s 14-0 this year.
There were also some strange errors by the Oregon State defense. Nick Madrigal’s fumble, Adley Rutschman and Gretler ran into each other trying to catch a pop fly in foul territory. This team was just off in that category tonight.
The series resumes tomorrow at 4 PM PT on ESPN. Do or die, folks.