Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota

Gophers' season ends in NCAA super regionals

Oregon State rallies late to complete two-game sweep

June 09, 2018 - 7:17 am
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CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - The Gopher baseball team was so close to forcing a deciding game 3 in the NCAA super regionals.

   Leading Oregon State 3-2 going into the eighth inning with their closer in the game, the Gophers' luck ran out. Adley Rutschman hit a two-out, two-RBI single in the ninth inning to lead No. 3 national seed Oregon State to a 6-3 win over Minnesota in the second game of the NCAA Tournament super regional Saturday.

   The baseball season ends for the Gophers following the program's deepest run in the NCAA tournament since 1977. It was the team's first-ever appearance in the super regionals.

   "We're proud of our guys," said long-time Gopher baseball coach John Anderson. "They competed all year long, nothing to hang their hats about. Going on the road and playing in the environment like this in the NCAA tournament, you know, it's difficult."

   The win sends the Beavers (49-10-1) to Omaha for the College World Series for the second straight season and the seventh time in school history.

   "That's a good team we beat," Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. "A really good team. "

   Oregon State loaded the bases in the ninth on singles by Stephen Kwan and Cadyn Grenier and a walk by Nick Madrigal before Rutschman brought home the go-ahead runs with his team-leading 69th and 70th RBIs this season.

   Kyle Nobach tied the game for OSU in the eighth inning on an RBI single off Minnesota closer Max Meyer after Trevor Larnach walked and Rutschman singled.  Nobach finished 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs.

   Larnach, who was the Twins' first-round pick in the 2018 baseball draft, was 4-for-6 in the two games against the Gophers, hitting a home run, driving in three runs, and scoring three times.

   No. 10 national seed Minnesota (44-15) scored one run each in the third and fourth innings before Micah Coffey gave the Gophers their first lead of the series with an RBI single in the fifth.

   "We had a chance in the fourth, bases loaded and weren't able to get a big hit to maybe give us some space," said Anderson. 

   Minnesota starter Patrick Frederickson, the Big 10 Pitcher of the Year, went five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts before giving way to Meyer in the sixth inning. Meyer (2-3) took the loss, giving up four runs on five hits in a season-high 3 1/3 innings.

   "Would have liked to have gotten a little bit more out of Patrick," said Anderson. "Probably had to get Max Meyer in there earlier than we wanted to and got tired there at the end."

   The Gophers ended with the program's third-most wins in a season, and only two fewer than the 1999 team that racked up 46 victories. That is a statistic that makes the Gophers confident of continued success in the coming season.

   "We put together a season where, night in and night out, it took a lot, it took a little bit of something from different guys each night," said Coffey, who played the final game of his college career. "Guys should be ready for that. I really think that we've laid a foundation for guys who are ready to compete at a really high level."

   Oregon State's Christian Chamberlain (3-0) picked up the win in relief, striking out five and giving up one hit in two innings.  Jake Mulholland pitched the ninth inning for his 15th save.

   OSU starter Bryce Fehmel threw six inning giving up three runs on six hits with six strikeouts.

   Oregon State, which will face North Carolina in their first game in Omaha, won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007.