Oregon State started its way back through the College World Series bracket Monday, with mistake-prone Louisville providing the two-time national champion a little nudge in the right direction.
The Beavers certainly did their part in an 11-4 victory by collecting 11 hits and building a 10-0 lead behind starting pitcher Ben Wetzler.
The Cardinals just helped with the rest with four errors and three hit batters, the majority of mistakes coming as Oregon State scored three runs in the third and followed with seven in the fourth in the Bracket One elimination game played before 18,980 fans.
It added up to the highest-scoring game in the CWS since it moved to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011.
“We just didn't play well, didn't play clean there in the third and fourth innings, and it got out of hand,” Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. “And unfortunately that happens, especially when you're playing a really good opponent.”
Oregon State (51-12) had its back against the wall for the first time in Omaha, but the third time in the postseason. The Beavers had to beat Kansas State twice in the super regional after losing the opener in that best-of-three series in Corvallis.
“With one more loss, we're never going to get to play together again, so we're going to fight like wild dogs to keep the jersey on our backs,” said Wetzler, who pitched 6 1⁄3 innings on his way to improving to 10-1. “That's kind of how we're going to do it. We didn't come to get one win. We came to get quite a few.”
Coming back Monday after the 5-4 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday also was a familiar situation for coach Pat Casey. The Beavers lost their opener in 2006 before charging through the losers bracket to win their first of back-to-back CWS championships.
Casey said he didn't necessarily use that as a rallying cry in between games.
“I don't want them to think that there's anything that they have to do that the '06 club did,” Casey said. “They're all different clubs. It's different personnel. We talk about things this team needs to do, and our guys usually respond to that.”
It started Monday with Max Gordon getting hit by a pitch and Tyler Smith following with an RBI double in the third inning. Louisville (51-14) then botched a potential inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, with Smith and Andy Peterson scoring on second baseman Zach Lucas' errant flip to shortstop Sutton Whiting.
That third inning already had been helped by Cardinals catcher Kyle Gibson failing to catch a foul ball by Michael Conforto, who was eventually walked by Jeff Thompson (11-2) to load the bases.
The miscues continued in the fourth with a throwing error by Whiting and reliever Cody Ege hitting a batter. But most costly was a play that the Cardinals might have made but didn't get the call.
With the score 3-0 and the bases loaded with two out, Dylan Davis hit a chopper to third baseman Ty Young, whose throw appeared to be in time but was ruled late by first base umpire Billy Speck. As the call was being made, Peterson hustled around from second to score behind Gordon.
“It's a bang-bang play and more times than not they're right,” said McDonnell, who added: “I don't think that play cost us the game by any means.”
Oregon State pounced on the break and kept coming, eventually capping the seven-run inning with Jake Rodriguez's bases-loaded walk and Gordon's two-run single.
Louisville started getting to Wetzler in the middle innings and loaded the bases for one final threat in the ninth. But the Cardinals hit into a pair of double plays along the way and left a total of nine runners on base.
Wetzler shrugged at the notion that he was pitching with Oregon State's season on his shoulders, but Casey said the Beavers had the right guy on the mound to keep it going.
“You want a tough guy,” Casey said. “He's a competitive guy. You want that guy when you're up against the wall. And I knew he'd give us a good start.”
Louisville committed six errors in its two CWS games and neither of its starting pitchers made it to the fourth inning in Omaha. Still, McDonnell said afterward that “I challenge them to celebrate” what the Cardinals accomplished.
“This is very tough at this moment,” he said. “But I don't want this game to define them or define their season.”
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