OMAHA – A legitimate star was born Thursday night as the Oregon State Beavers captured their third College World Series championship with a 5-0 win over Arkansas.
Kevin Abel, a freshman who came of age during post-season play, baffled the Razorbacks with his assortment of pinpoint fastballs, curves and changeups as OSU completed its rally from a 0-1 deficit to capture the best-of-three series by winning the final two games.
Abel became the first pitcher ever to win four games at the CWS and held Arkansas to just two hits -- both in the third inning -- over nine shutout innings. He fanned 10 and walked two just 24 hours after throwing an inning of relief against the Hogs Wednesday night. He retired the final 20 batters he faced.
It was a spectacular performance by a pitcher who was not a member of the team's weekend starting rotation for most of the season.
The Beavers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Cadyn Grenier was hit by a pitch with one out in the first and moved to third on Trevor Larnach’s single to right field.
Adley Rutschman bounced a single into left to plate Grenier and Larnach scored on an infield error to give OSU a 2-0 lead after just one inning.
The Hogs got a leadoff double and a wak in the top o the third, followed by an infield hit to load the bases. But Abel wriggled out of trouble in the meat of the Arkansas order with a strikeout and a line out to right.
Rutschman singled to drive in another run in the third, his 16th hit of the CWS . a single-series record. That made the score 3-0 and left runners at first and second with nobody out.
But with a chance to break the game open the Beavers left two runners stranded.
Rutschman blooped a single into left-center field with one out in the fifth, his 17th CWS hit and Tyler Malone followed with a walk. With Michael Gretler batting, a wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third.
Gretler hit a sacrifice fly to right to hike the lead to 4-0. The Beavers would tack on one more run and Abel would finish the game, handing OSU the College World Series Title.