Day three of the College World Series brought about some exciting and anticipated matchups. After an exciting back and forth affair won by Florida State to start the day, Oregon State delivered an impressive if slightly anticlimactic 13-1 win in the winner’s bracket nightcap. Their blowout victims, LSU, meet Florida State in an elimination game on Wednesday. Losers of two straight, to Oregon State and Florida State, Cal State Fullerton bowed out of the tournament, becoming the first team to do so.
Florida State 6 Cal State Fullerton 4
In an impressively gutsy performance, the Florida State Seminoles, staring another quick and disappointing exit out of the College World Series in the face, rallied after losing a 3-1 lead to the Titans to score three times in the seventh for a thrilling 6-4 victory. The Seminoles improved to 5-0 in elimination games this NCAA tournament. Matt Henderson had a pair of hits for the Seminoles, who also received two RBI from Steven Wells. Starter Drew Parrish was strong and economical through five innings but left after giving up a two-run home run that evaporated Florida State’s lead in the sixth, surrendering four runs over 5 ⅔ innings. The trio of Chase Haney, the winning pitcher, Alec Byrd, and Drew Carlton held the Titans to one hit the rest of the way. Scott Hurst, Dillon Persinger, and Timmy Richards collected the RBI for the Titans, although no one batter picked up more than a single base knock. Richards provided the offensive highlight with a booming two-run home run. Starter John Gavin allowed two runs over 3 ⅓ innings, but it was Jack Pabich who took the loss, allowing two runs out of the pen while not recording an out.
The Seminoles scored first in the second inning, as a walk, an error on a pickoff attempt, and sacrifice bunt brought a runner to third, where Wells brought him in with a sharp single to left field. Fullerton mounted their first decent threat against Parrish in the third, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a single. Parrish escaped having allowed only one run, which scored on Hurst’s sacrifice fly. The freshman hurler induced a key double play to end the frame with the game tied 1-1. His teammates immediately rewarded his effort by giving him another lead in the fourth inning. Cal Raleigh – Parrish’s battery partner – doubled to start the inning and came around to score on a line drive sacrifice fly from Wells. Again though, with the bases loaded and nobody out, the Seminoles failed to come up with more than the single tally, as a pair of strikeouts nullified the threat. They tacked onto the lead in the sixth when Drew Mendoza hit a sizzling line drive that just cleared the right-field fence for a solo blast that brought the score to 3-1.
Cal State Fullerton, a gutsy team who was already 2-0 in elimination games in the NCAA Tournament, mounted an improbable rally in the sixth. Having been held to one hit by Parrish, the Titans got a one-out single from Hurst. After a ground out moved him to second, Hurst came home on a double from Persinger that popped out of the glove of diving center fielder JC Flowers. Richards made the Seminoles pay by blasting a two-run shot immediately afterward to give the Titans the lead.
The lead would not last long, however, as Florida State fired back with three runs in the seventh. Taylor Walls led off with a single, and Dylan Busby drove left fielder Chris Prescott back into the fence where Busby’s sizzling line drive popped out of Prescott’s glove after his valiant effort brought him crashing into the fence. Walls moved to third base on the play, representing the tying run. After a pitching change and intentional walk to load the bases, the Titans issued two more unintentional walks to bring in two runs, relinquishing their brief lead.
The Titans escaped giving up only one more run, on an infield single, but they left the inning trailing by a pair of runs once more. Fullerton didn’t pose a threat until the ninth inning when they put the tying runs on base with two outs, but Carlton recorded a key strikeout to push the Seminoles onwards in the tournament.=
Oregon State 13 LSU 1
The most anticipated game of the 2017 college baseball season lived up to its billing for four innings. After that, it was all Oregon State. The Beavers entered the game ranked #1 and riding a 22-game winning streak, which they put on the line against the red-hot Tigers, ranked fourth in the nation and winners of their past seventeen games. With the two longest active winning streaks in college baseball on the line, only one would survive. For nearly the entire first half of the game, it looked destined to be a thriller, with Oregon State up just 1-0 after four. However, the Beavers scratched across a pair in the fifth and five more in the sixth, highlighted by KJ Harrison’s grand slam, the first bases-jammed shot in the College World Series in the six years it has been held in Omaha. After Harrison’s blast, the game morphed into a fully-fledged blowout, with the Beavers cruising onwards to a 13-1 win. Offensively, Oregon State had plenty of highlights besides the grand slam. The top three men in their order, Steven Kwan, Nick Madrigal, and Trevor Larnach went 7-13 with four walks and 6 RBI. The Beavers drew twelve walks in total and scored six runs of their free passes along with two LSU errors. Cadyn Grenier added three RBI on a 1-3 performance. Starter Bryce Fehmel was spectacular, allowing one run on two hits over eight sparkling innings for the Beavers. The Tigers had just four hits overall, two coming from Zach Watson, who also recorded LSU’s lone RBI. LSU used a CWS record-setting eight pitchers. Only their last two hurlers, Austin Bain and Russell Reynolds, escaped their outings unscathed.
The top of Oregon State’s order got the Beavers off to a hot start in the first inning, as Kwan singled, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on Larnach’s ground ball single up the middle. Harrison’s double play ground ball ended any thoughts of Oregon State putting a crooked number on the board to start the game. LSU failed to threaten Fehmel early in the game, but the Beavers’ bats went silent over the next three innings. Kwan doubled in the third with two outs, but he was stranded, and Oregon State failed to take advantage of a two-out walk and single, stranding both runners. However, Fehmel had allowed just one hit and two walks, not allowing a single runner past first base, easily preserving Oregon State’s lead, which was soon extended to an insurmountable advantage.
With a man on first and two outs in the fifth, Madrigal drilled a single to center field and went to second on the throw to third. This positioned Larnach to record his second and third RBI of the night, extending Oregon State’s lead to 3-0 on a line drive single to center field. The Beavers would strand the bases loaded in the inning, but after the sixth, nobody thought about the wasted chance.
After Fehmel escaped LSU’s first decent scoring chance in the fifth by way of a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play, Oregon State gave their starter plenty of room to work with. Two walks and a sacrifice bunt brought up the dangerous top of the order for the Beavers, but Kwan walked to load the bases. Madrigal was thrown out on a groundout, but he scored a run to push the lead to 4-0. After the second pitching change of the day for LSU, Larnach drew a walk and Harrison blasted his lone hit of the day into the left field stands, essentially cementing the result of the game, leaving the last four innings as simply a painful addition for the Tigers to get through.
Oregon State was not finished either. After LSU went quietly in the sixth, the Beavers tacked on three more tallies in the seventh, as Grenier recorded a sacrifice fly and Madrigal down the left field line to score two more. LSU got their lone run in the seventh inning, as Watson blasted a solo home run that represented the only damage the Tigers could do against Fehmel. However, the Beavers answered once more on a two-run single from Grenier that brought the score to its final tally of 13-1. Sam Tweedt recorded the final three outs for the Beavers, who moved within one game of the championship series.