No magic left in that banana. Jordan Westburg, who became famous for talking to a banana to begin the banana rally cries during the MSU games here in the post-season, is left disconsolate after having the last at-bat of the season and bouncing into a force out.[/caption]
In the 2013 College World Series finals the Bulldogs lost a pair of games to UCLA by 3-1 and 8-0 scores. Fast-forward five years. Same venue. Different circumstances. These past two days, the Dogs from StarkVegas ran into another Pac 12 buzzsaw, the Oregon State Beavers. Tonight’s 5-2 win completed a two-game sweep of MSU, allowing the Beavers to come back from an opening day loss and make it all the way to the championship series. In the two games against MSU the Orange and Black outscored the Maroons 17-4.
The biggest culprit at the dish for the Beavers was the suddenly molten-hot Tyler Malone, who clubbed what would be the eventual game-winning three-run home run in the third inning to account for his third dinger of the College World Series.
Neither game was much in doubt and had the Bulldog fans sitting on their hands for the most part. Oh sure, the ninth inning got a little hairy tonight as Jake Mulholland walked a pair batters and plunked another, saddled around an RBI single from Luke Alexander, and a bases-loaded situation made for a few frayed nerves. But in the end, a harmless fielder’s choice bounced nicely to shortstop Cadyn Grenier, who flipped to Nick Madrigal to obtain that elusive final out.
The Beavers move on to play a well-rested Arkansas Razorback team in the CWS championship finals starting on Monday at 6pm. Two great offenses. Two great pitching staffs. Two great programs. This should be fun.
OREGON STATE 5, MISSISSIPPI STATE 2
Gary Henderson said in the post-game press conference, “If you had told me before the game that we would hold them to so many zeroes on the board I would’ve taken it.”
Unfortunately, the one frame that they did not put up a zero, the Beavers scored five runs. And that would all they needed to pull out a 5-2 win thanks to some deft pitching from freshman Kevin Abel and reliever Jake Mulholland who combined to hold the Maroon and White to just four hits while striking out nine.
Here are how things looked through the lenses of our cameras tonight…
Give ‘im a lift. Grant Gambrell gives a Dirty Dancing-like lift to Dylan Pearce in the pregame hug-it-out line near the OSU bullpen.
Release the hounds! The Bulldogs rush out to the field dressed in their Johnny Cash-like all-black uni. I s’pose they thought it’d bring them good luck.
MSU starter Ethan Small messed with fire a few times, ultimately giving up five runs in the the third inning, which was the deciding factor in the game.
The Bulldog dugout and a lot to coo about in the early going. Their crowd was pumped up tonight as well.
Like a shimmering light in a season of darkness. Oregon State starter Kevin Abel handled the biggest stage in our sport with aplomb, going 7.0 innings and giving up just three hits and one run. Abel improved to 6-1 on the season, dropping his ERA to 3.28. Yes folks, he’s just a freshman too.
The hottest big bat in the Beaver order could now belong to Tyler Malone, who connected on this swing for a devastating three-run homer in the third inning. Note the ball leaving the bat in the upper right.
Malone is welcomed back the conquering hero after rounding the bases, catching some air with Adley Rutschman as he heads to the dugout.
You can’t blame this game on Rowdey Jordan, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI single to put MSU on the board in the third inning.
Home plate umpire Billy Van Raaphorst rings up a disbelieving Kyle Nobach looking early in the game.
Trevor Larnach singled in the third inning and came around to score on Michael Gretler’s RBI single.
Head down, feet pumpin’. Beaver No. 2 hitter Cadyn Grenier rounds first as his double rattles around in the left field corner during that pivotal third inning. That two-out double would lead to a five-run two-out nightmare, being the deciding factor in the game.
The O-State Ballaz have got it goin’ on. The OSU dugout reacts to an RBI single from Adley Rutschman’s bat in the third inning.
In the sixth inning, Mississippi State showed some signs of life after this fielding error by Nick Madrigal left men at 1st and 2nd. A wild pitch later and both runners would be in scoring position with one out.
(And this is how you know it was NOT the Bulldogs’ night)… a sharp on-the-nose line out to third base was quickly turned to a double play as Nick Madrigal steps on second base after third baseman Michael Gretler snagged a sharp liner to his glove and threw it to the awaiting Madrigal to end the threat with a double play.
All was not peaches and cream for Mr. Madrigal however, especially after getting caught stealing here… while getting tagged in the nuts. Ouchie-mama.
Beaver centerfielder Jack Anderson runs down a fly ball in front of the sign that reminds everyone that the greatest college in the history of mankind is the host institution of this great event.
OSU catcher Adler Rutschman gives a bear hug to reliever Jake Mulholland after (finally) getting the final out of the game on Jordan Westburg’s fielder’s choice ground out.
This. Is. Real. Pain. The Bulldogs see their mighty post-season run finally come to an end one game short of the CWS championship finals.
MSU “interim” head coach Gary Henderson gives a wave to the crowd after they greeted him and the Bulldog squad with a hearty round of applause.
The TDA P.A. Song of the Day:
C.W. McCall’s “Convoy”
Yes, this was actually a song. And yes, it actually made it into the Top 10 on the Billboard music poll in 1976. And as you’ll see, they actually made a freakin’ movie out of it with Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw. For some reason the P.A. operator at the stadium actually played this song during the game tonight. My guess is because at the end of the song you hear a voice say, “What’s your 20 good buddy?… Omaha!… Hell they ought to know what to do with those hogs down there for sure.”