CORVALLIS – Next stop on Oregon State’s magic carpet ride of a season is Omaha and the College World Series.
The Beavers found some magic Saturday night as they blew past Vanderbilt 9-2 to capture their Super Regional in two straight games and hike their latest winning streak to 21 games.
The tourney's top seed will take an eye-popping season record of 54-4 into the eight-team World Series and meet the winner of the Long Beach State-Cal Fullerton Super Regional in their first game.
Heroes? How about sophomore right-hander Bryce Fehmel, making his first start since May 6? He went the distance, allowed five hits, just one earned run, fanned 10 and didn't walk a batter. It was an amazing performance from a pitcher who had been all but forgotten over the latter part of the season.
And what about KJ Harrison, who hammered a three-run homer to get the Beavers going in the third? It was his second three-run big fly in two nights.
The Beavers got four runs on five hits in a marathon third inning, capped by Harrison’s three-run clout into the high bleachers in left field.
Adley Rutschman opened the inning with a sharp single to right and moved to second on Christian Donahue’s groundout. With two out, Steven Kwan lined a single to center to score Rutschman with the first run of the game.
Nick Madrigal followed with an infield single to set up Harrison. The OSU first baseman then crushed a 2-1 pitch for his second three-run homer in as many nights.
Donahue actually may have provided some momentum for that inning with a spectacular catch leaping against the left-field wall in the second. It was a terrific play with the ball and Donahue arriving at the fence at the same crashing moment.
Fehmel allowed a lead-off double to open the bottom of the third, but pitched his way out of the inning without allowing the runner to advance –- a shutdown inning.
The Commodores got to Fehmel in the sixth for two runs, one of them unearned and by then the Beavers were lacking in baserunners. After getting five hits in the third, they got only one more over the next three innings.
But OSU came back in the top of the seventh to load the bases on two infield hits and a walk, getting Harrison to the plate with two outs. The Oregon State first baseman fell behind on the count 0-2 but worked a walk to force in OSU’s fifth run. That was the end of the line for Vanderbilt’s much-heralded starter Kyle Wright, who has been tabbed as a possible No. 1 pick in Monday’s baseball draft.
Trevor Larnach then grounded a single up the middle to plate two more runs and the Beavers had a 7-2 lead -- a three-run, two-out rally immediately after the Commodores had put two on the board.
But the Beavers weren't done. Cadyn Grenier smacked a triple to deep right-center field in the eighth to drive in two more runs and the lead was 9-2.