CORVALLIS, Ore. - The No. 10-ranked Gopher Baseball team battled until the final out with the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, but Oregon State eked out a 6-3 win over Minnesota to clinch a berth in the College World Series, claiming the NCAA Super Regional series 2-games-to-0 at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field on Saturday evening.
No. 3-seed Oregon State (49-10-1) scored in the first inning for the second-straight game, scraping across a single run against Gophers right-hander Patrick Fredrickson on an infield single off the bat of Trevor Larnach. No. 14-seed Minnesota (44-15) provided the answer when Cole McDevitt singled leading off the third, advancing on a wild pitch, and came around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Ben Mezzenga.
The Gophers took advantage of a pair of hit batters in the fourth when Jordan Kozicky drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Terrin Vavra who singled leading off the inning, but the Gophers couldn't add any more. Oregon State had an answer in the top of the fifth when the first two men reached on a walk and a nearly perfect bunt single. Kyle Nobach would come around to score on a base hit by Steven Kwan.
Luke Pettersen singled leading off the bottom of the fifth, eventually coming around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Micah Coffey with Minnesota regaining a 3-2 lead after five complete. Fredrickson returned to the mound for the sixth, but a close ball four chased him from the game after 5+ innings, allowing two earned on seven hits and three walks.
"We were ready to play tonight. Patrick Fredrickson hung in there and made some pitches. We were fortunate to get out of the first inning thanks to a heck of a play by Luke Pettersen," said head coach John Anderson, who wrapped his 37th season. "We would have liked to get a little more out of Patrick, but he walked Larnach on what we thought was a strike pitch and forced us to play our hand. We had to get Max Meyer in there earlier than we wanted to, and he got tired at the end."
Max Meyer entered with a runner on in the top of the sixth and promptly struck out two in the inning, getting the Gophers off the field. On the other side, Bryce Fehmel worked 6+ innings for the Beavers, allowing three earned on six hits while striking out six. After Pettersen led off the seventh with a walk, he handed the ball off to Christian Chamberlain who would hit a batter but collect three strikeouts in the inning.
Larnach would reach in his first four plate appearances for Oregon State, walking with one out in the eighth, and he came around to score the game-tying run on another RBI single by Nobach. The Beavers would chase Meyer after loading the bases with one out in the top of the ninth. Jackson Rose entered and struck out Larnach for the second out of the inning, but Adley Rutschman singled up the middle to break up the tie, scoring two. The Beavers added another run on a bases loaded hit by pitch later in the inning.
"We made some good pitches, but we were just unfortunate. That's baseball sometimes," said Anderson. "You don't always get the results you deserve. It was a well-played game. I'm really proud of our guys for competing all year long."
"First of all, I'm glad he got the ride to finish line that he did. I can't think of a more fitting way for him to end his coaching career than with this group and the season they put together. He's the ultimate baseball man. He cares about the kids. He's a great teacher of the fundamentals of the game. He has different strengths than I have, different weaknesses. His fingerprints are all over our program. Our program wouldn't have the success it's had in my 37 years without Rob Fornasiere. He's been the glue that kept the program together. He didn't play for the Gophers, but he's very proud and very loyal and loves the Gopher Baseball program. It showed in his work ethic every day. It's going to be different without him, but I'm happy for him and his wife, Ruth." - John Anderson on the impact of Rob Fornasiere as he retires after 33 seasons with the program.
Rookie closer Max Meyer matched his season high with 3.1 innings of work. ... Minnesota mixed up its batting line-up for the first time in 10 games ... the 44 victories for the Gophers are the third-most in program history. The 1999 Minnesota team won 46 games.
Gophers in the Pros (June 19 Update)
6/19/2018 - Baseball
"Gophers in the Pros" will provide a bi-weekly update during the summer months for fans to keep up with former Gopher Baseball players as they compete at the next level.
ABCA/Rawlings Name Three Gophers All-Americans
6/16/2018 - Baseball
The last of the major organizations to name Division I All-Americans tabbed three Gophers as All-Americans in 2018.
PerfectGame Tabs Gophers as Freshmen All-Americans
6/14/2018 - Baseball
PerfectGame became the latest organization to honor Patrick Fredrickson and Max Meyer as Freshman All-Americans