Omaha, Neb. -- Oregon State was only one foul ball catch away from losing the College World Series. Instead, the ball fell helplessly between three Arkansas players, allowing Beaver shortstop Cadyn Grenier another shot to tie the game in the top of the 9th inning, with the season on the line. They did more, winning 5-3 and forcing a winner-take-all game in Omaha on Thursday night.
The Razorbacks got the lead in the bottom of the second inning, opening the scoring after a wild pitch by Fehmel, putting the Beavers in a hole. OSU catcher Adley Rutschman managed to draw the Beavers even in the top of the 4th inning. By the end of the game, the man drawing comparisons to MLB All-Star Buster Posey would match the Oregon State single season hits record with 99. A suicide squeeze gave the Beavers a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth.
While Brandon Eisert gave solid relief for OSU, two RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth turned the tables on the Beavs, who again fell behind, this time 3-2. Where Oregon State set program records for their high flying offense leading up to the final, most hitters aside from Rutschman sputtered and runners were uncharacteristically left on base. In the top of the 8th inning, the tying run was on third base with one out, but Tyler Malone struck out and Steven Kwan flied out to leave Rutschman stranded on the bag.
To try and switch things up, starting pitcher Kevin Abel came on the bottom of the 8th and struck out the side, giving Oregon State a chance to try and stay alive one last time. He struck out the side. With one half inning left, Zak Taylor managed to get walked, and a sac bunt and Nick Madrigal ground out moved him to third. Cadyn Grenier headed up to the plate and popped a ball into foul territory, an otherwise routine defensive play to end the game. Instead a miscommunication between players allowed the ball to drop, and Grenier survived. He brought in Clayton on a line drive in the gap between third base and short to tie the game.
Up came Trevor Larnach.
The number 20 overall pick in the MLB Draft and power hitter for the Beavers smacked an oppo shot into deep right field to put the Beavers ahead 5-3. Jake Mulholland came on for Kevin Abel in the bottom of the 9th to close out the inning. The closer struck out one and then forced a double play to end the game. The Beavers survived, yet again.
Game 3 is a winner-take-all matchup for the College World Series Championship. It's the last time OSU will win-or-go-home. The way things have been, it's not a strange place to be for the Beavers.