Luke Heimlich

Fifth-inning nightmare dooms Beavers in CWS

Fifth-inning nightmare dooms Beavers in CWS

OMAHA –  Just one inning -- one nightmare inning -- and Oregon State has its back to the wall again after losing Game 1 of the College World Series championship round to Arkansas Tuesday night in front of 25,321 fans in TD Ameritrade Park.

The Beavers scored first but only once and lost 4-1 in the opener of the best-of-three series.

Trevor Larnach hit the first pitch of the bottom of the second on a line to right field for a double, the first hit of the game for either side. After Adley Rutschman struck out, Tyler Malone reached base on a slow grounder to short that moved Larnach to third. Michael Grettler followed with a hump-back liner over shortstop to drive in the game’s first run and stake Luke Heimlich to a 1-0 lead.

The Beavers ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth when they had runners at first and third and none out. Malone hit a one-hopper to first and Rutschman was charged with interference on a play at second. That meant Malone was also called out and the runner had to return to third base. It cost the Beavers a run and they didn’t score in the inning.

Then in the top of the fifth, disaster struck. Heimlich got the first out of the inning and couldn’t get another one. A couple of hits, an error by Madrigal and a couple of hit batters chased him before Christian Chamberlain came on to walk a run in with four straight balls.

Chamberlain snuffed out the rally with a pair of strikeouts but the Razorbacks got four runs in the inning. At that point Arkansas led 4-1 and Oregon State had outhit the Razorbacks 5-3. Chamberlain did a sensational job of finishing the game off for OSU, going the rest of the way while not allowing a run and fanning 11 over the final four and two-thirds innings.

The Beavers were involved in another controversial situation in the fifth when Cadyn Grenier’s liner down the right-field line was called foul but reversed upon review. The umpires were then put in a position where they had to place runners where they should have been had the ball been called fair. Then placed Steven Kwan at third, which was probably correct, but Grenier was sent to first when he should have been at second.

But Madrigal lined out to second to end that inning.

Oregon State faces its fifth must-win game of the Series Wednesday night at 4 o'clock (PDT) and right-hander Bryce Fehmel is the anticipated OSU starter.

 

 

Some sights and sounds from the College World Series

Some sights and sounds from the College World Series

OMAHA – A few of the sights and sounds from the College World Series…

  • TD Ameritrade Park, the CWS venue, is a beautiful downtown minor-league ballpark. But no minor-league team plays in it. The Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers have their own 9,100-seat venue called Werner Park outside of town. TD Ameritrade is the home park for the CWS and Creighton Blue Jays and seats 24,000. See how important the CWS is to Omaha?
  • TD Ameritrade was a sea of red Monday night as fans got ready for the game that was eventually postponed between Arkansas and Oregon State. With just a six-hour drive to Omaha, the Razorbacks are going to make this series look like a homestand.
  • And make no mistake, the Arkansas fans are proud to be pigs. That “Sooey Pig” thing can be heard wherever a group of three or four of their fans are hanging out.
  • That doesn’t mean the Beavers don’t have a large contingent of fans on hand, too. Oregon State baseball fans travel well.
  • The area around the ballpark in downtown Omaha is alive. And busy. This town goes out of its way to be supportive of the event and the people who attend it. The hospitality is generous and genuine.
  • Oregon State will be the home team in Game 1 of the series and also Game 3, if necessary.
  • On the lineup card OSU Coach Pat Casey turned in for the postponed game Monday, he had Steven Kwan playing center field and batting leadoff and Luke Heimlich listed as the starting pitcher. Kwan is apparently recovered from a hamstring tweak and Heimlich ready for his third start in the CWS. There is no reason to doubt it will be the same lineup Tuesday night.
  • The weather forecast for Omaha looks fine through Wednesday but showing possible thunderstorms again Thursday. I’m thinking there are some messed up trip itineraries already for OSU fans because of Monday’s rainout.

 

The rain steps up to provide the Beavers a needed CWS day off

The rain steps up to provide the Beavers a needed CWS day off

OMAHA -- Throughout the College World Series, the best friend and biggest ally of the Oregon State Beavers has been the rain.

In the Beavers’ first win here, over Washington, it was a long rain delay that got OSU’s bats going. In the win over North Carolina, a late-game mist seemed to ignite the Oregon State offense.

And now, when needed most, the rain has stepped up and given the Beavers their biggest break yet. Of course it took a long time to get here as Game 1 of the championship round of the CWS was delayed for a couple of hours before finally postponed.

A rainout – another day off for this team’s tired pitching staff -- should be a huge break for OSU as it moves into its best-of-three national championship series against Arkansas.

It began raining early Monday and didn’t stop until a couple of hours prior to gametime. The teams took infield practice under mostly clear skies and the grounds crew actually watered the infield but the smart guys who run the tournament had their eyes glued to the local radar. And it didn’t look good.

When the rain hit, it brought thunder and lightning with it and it became apparent that the weather wasn’t going to allow a Monday night start to the series.

And thus beleaguered OSU starting pitchers Luke Heimlich and Bryce Fehmel will get an extra day’s rest. So will the OSU bullpen, which has had to work overtime because of the team’s lack of quality starts from its Big Two.

Heimlich will now get another day of rest before being the expected starter Tuesday night at 4 o'clock, PDT.

The forecast is bright for at least the next three days here and the rain has certainly done enough for the Beavers. The rest will be up to them.

 

Beavers face big challenge vs. Razorbacks in CWS

Beavers face big challenge vs. Razorbacks in CWS

OMAHA – Oregon State finally has that elimination-game monkey off its back as it opens the best-of-three championship round in the College World Series Monday (4 p.m.) against Arkansas.

But it’s not going to be easy to avoid defeat against the Razorbacks.

Arkansas survived the Southeastern Conference and won three out of five from defending national champ Florida, including eliminating the Gators last week.

Arkansas is deep, dangerous and rested – having had to play just three games to get to this point and with its talented pitching staff rested and rotated back around to the top.

The Beavers are expected to face the Arkansas ace, unbeaten right-hander Blaine Knight (13-0, 2.88 ERA) in the first game of the series. The Razorbacks have a 3.55 team earned run average that’s 29th in the country.

On top of that, it’s going to be difficult to keep their hitters in the ballpark. Arkansas was third nationally in home runs with 98, paced by sophomore outfielder Dominic Fletcher, who is 8 for 14 with two homers and eight RBIs in three games here. He is the only California recruit on the Razorback roster.

It could be an interesting series because the high-powered OSU offense is likely going to have to get a little more help from its starting pitchers in order to win.

The ‘Backs are 33-3 when they score six or more runs in a game but only 14-16 when they tally fewer than that.

The Beavers had to win four straight elimination games to make it this far and their pitching staff is showing signs of stress – especially the top two starters, Luke Heimlich (16-2) and Bryce Fehmel (10-1).

The Beavers have yet to get anything close to a quality start in the CWS and need at least one to give the over-used bullpen a rest.

So far, Coach Pat Casey has been coy about who will be his Game 1 starter but he needs someone to step up and give him at least five innings.

“Now we haven’t got one quality start out of our two best guys in four starts for them,” he said. “And so therefore – I’m being up front – that’s puzzling to me. I’m not positive how we got to that point to where we can continue to play when the freshman gives us the big start we’ve had.”

The way the Beavers have been scoring, the pitching hasn’t had to be flawless – but it’s going to have to be adequate in the final series.

And expect OSU to continue to score, especially if second baseman Nick Madrigal can snap out of a mild slump. The No. 4 pick in the recent big-league draft is hitting only .257 here – far below his season average of .395.

But don’t expect the Beavers to be the darlings of the home crowd. Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn coached at Nebraska for five seasons and is still very popular in these parts.

GAME NOTES: Casey will likely choose between Heimlich, Brandon Eisert and Christian Chamberlain on the mound in the opener of the series. … Centerfielder Steven Kwan, who has been out with hamstring strain, got an at bat and played an inning in the field in the Saturday game vs. Mississippi State but Casey would not pronounce him ready to go Monday. “You know, last night I probably allowed my trust in the players to get to me,” Casey said Sunday. “He wanted to get an at bat and go into the game and he was 100 percent and it was probably against my better judgment that I allowed that to happen. And so thank God nothing was hit to him.”

Heimlich: It's not about baseball, it's about punishment and rehabilitation

Heimlich: It's not about baseball, it's about punishment and rehabilitation

CORVALLIS -- Of all the questions surrounding the Luke Heimlich situation at Oregon State, the one that befuddles me the most is "How long?"

Nobody yet has been able to give me much of an answer.

And by "How long?" I mean how long must somebody who admitted guilt to a molestation at the age of 15 pay for his crime? Is it 10 years? Twenty years? Life? Honestly, I have no idea.

The whole concept of a juvenile justice system is to understand that youngsters make mistakes. Sometimes serious ones. Often those mistakes can be attributed to cultural, economic or familial influences that youths cannot control. And as kids, they are allowed a chance to move on from those and have a productive life. Heimlich is now 21 years old and, by all accounts, has done just fine as a student at Oregon State and has complied with all the stipulations of his plea agreement.

Or, as his coach, Pat Casey, put it: "I can just tell you that he's a fine young man and for every second he's been on this campus, on and off the field, he's been a first-class individual -- someone that his family should be proud of, the community should be proud of and our team is proud of him. I believe in Luke."

This isn't about baseball, it's about a young man who is, to the best of our knowledge, doing all he can to rehabilitate himself. I don't know Heimlich well enough to say I believe in him. I don't know him at all. But I believe in the concept of giving people a chance to atone for their mistakes and move forward with a productive life -- particularly when it's a juvenile. But as you know, the courts decide punishment but society also weighs in on the subject -- and public opinion can be more harsh than a judge.

I don't pretend to have all the answers in a situation like this. And as I said, this isn't about baseball, it's more about juvenile offenders and their rehabilitation. So I go back to the original question:

You tell me -- if Heimlich doesn't belong on this team, when does he? What are his rights as a student? What are his privileges as a student? When, exactly, does punishment end and rehabilitation begin?

And most pertinent, who is supposed to make those calls?

UPDATED: Thompson, Harrison key Beavers' win to open Super Regional

UPDATED: Thompson, Harrison key Beavers' win to open Super Regional

UPDATED WITH QUOTES

CORVALLIS – Right-hander Jake Thompson, thrust into the role of No. 1 starter, ran his season record to 14-0 Friday night as the Beavers defeated Vanderbilt 8-4 in Goss Stadium. It was the 53-4 Beavers' 20th consecutive win.

"Thompson was really, really good," OSU Coach Pat Casey said afterward. "If we catch a ball there for him he gives up only one run and that's a really good team there."

Oregon State took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series with the win. The series continues Saturday night at 6 o'clock.

The Beavers struck first, getting on the board in the first inning on K.J. Harrison’s three-run homer to left field. But the Commodores bounced right back for three of their own in the top of the second, aided by a misjudged fly ball in left field by Christian Donohue.

"It was nice to get off to that good start," Casey said. "I thought we played with a lot of energy tonight."

Oregon State came back in the bottom of that inning, tallying two runs on Nick Madrigal’s two-out double down the left-field line.

"My hand is fine," said Madrigal, who had been bothered with a painful bone bruise after being hit by a pitch in conference play. "I'm good. No worries."

The Beavers added another run in the fifth when Trevor Larnach singled home Steven Kwan to make the score 6-3. Will Toffey got that run back for Vandy with a towering solo homer in the seventh.

Oregon State scored two more in the eighth on a single by Cadyn Grenier and a sacrifice fly by Kwan.

Thompson allowed four runs, seven hits, fanned seven and walked two before departing with two outs in the eighth. Sam Tweedt came on with a runner at second in the ninth and shut the Commodores down to seal the win.

OSU left-hander Luke Heimlich, the Beavers' ace all season, was originally expected to be the starting pitcher but, following the disclosure of his admission of guilt in a child molestation case as a 15-year-old, his participation has become a hot-button issue. Heimlich was required to register as a sex offender because of that incident.

Casey would not name a starting pitcher for Saturday's game and offered Drew Rasmussen and Bryce Fehmel as possibilities, as well as most of his bullpen.When asked about the availability of Heimlich through the rest of the series Casey said, "That's his decision. He's a team guy and he said he didn't want to be a distraction. I can just tell you that he's a fine young man and for every second he's been on this campus, on and off the field, he's been a first-class individual -- someone that his family should be proud of, the community should be proud of and our team is proud of him. I believe in Luke."

Heimlich was in uniform and introduced with the rest of his teammates prior to the game  He issued this statement Friday:

STATEMENT OF LUKE HEIMLICH

I have taken responsibility for my conduct when I was a teenager . As a 16 year old,  I was placed on juvenile court probation and ordered to participate in an individual counseling program.

I’m grateful for the counseling I received, and since then, I realized that the only way forward was to work each day on becoming the best person, community member and student I can possibly be.

I understand that many people now see me differently, but I hope that I can eventually be judged for the person I am today.

I’m so proud of our team’s accomplishment and don’t want to be a distraction. Therefore, I’ve respectfully requested to be excused from playing.

:

 

 

A statement from Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich

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A statement from Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich

Below is Oregon State Beavers pitcher Luke Heimlich's full statement:

I have taken responsibility for my conduct when I was a teenager. As a 16 year old, I was placed on juvenile court probation and ordered to participate in an individual counseling program. I'm grateful for the counseling I received, and since then, I realized that the only way forward was to work each day on becoming the best person, community member and student I can possibly be. I understand that many people now see me differently, but I hope that I can eventually be judged for the person I am today.

I'm so proud of our team's accomplishment and don't want to be a distraction. Therefore, I've respectfully requested to be excused from playing at this time. 

Heimlich is currently leading the nation with the lowest era (.76).

The Beavers open up NCAA Baseball Super Regionals play this weekend vs. Vanderbilt in a best-of-three series, the winner of which advances to the College World Series in Omaha, NE, June 17-27/28.

No. 1 Oregon State pours in 11 runs, 16 hits in 11-0 win over Yale

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No. 1 Oregon State pours in 11 runs, 16 hits in 11-0 win over Yale

How Oregon State won: Didn't take long for the No. 1 overall seed Oregon State Beavers to get their first run across the board. It only took seven minutes and the third Beaver in the lineup, redshirt junior Jack Anderson, to cash in a home run deep into right-center field to give OSU an early 1-0 lead and all the momentum. But it didn't end there. Next up to the plate was sophomore Trevor Larnach who doubled to left-center, and freshman Adley Rutschman brought him home on an RBI single. What a way to start off round two in this regional. The bats kept coming for Oregon State the whole night and of those 16 total Beavers hits, eight differenet Beavers contributed demonstrating the Beavers impressive offensive prowess anywhere in their lineup. 

A sold out crowd of Beavers fans were out of their seats in no time cheering on their No. 1 team to a 11-0 NCAA Corvallis Regionals round two victory over Yale.

"I thought we played a lot better tonight," Beavers head coach Pat Casey said following the game. "Obviously big home run from Jack [Anderson] got us very excited in the first inning. Thought we played much, much better, and obviously Luke [Heimlich] was good, real good. We made some really good plays, boy we defended for him. Like I sais we got going early and that really helped us out today."

What it means: Oregon State is in control of this NCAA Corvallis Regional with a record of 2-0. One more win and the Beavers cash in their spot in the Super Regionals, likely to host once again. Oregon State will play the winner of Holy Cross vs. Yale (1:04 PM Sunday afternoon) at 7 PM Sunday evening.

Oregon State pitching: Starting tonight on the mound was junior Luke Heimlich, who extends his record to 11-1 on the season, leads the nation with the lowest ERA of .81. Not bad at all. Heimlich sure proved that number correct and finished allowing zero runs, zero earned runs, two hits, one walks, and eight strikeouts. His night ended having pitched seven innings and was relieved by sophomore right-handed pitcher Sam Tweedt (2.78 ERA).

It wasn't just Beavers head coach Pat Casey who was impressed with Heimlich's performance, but the pitcher turned the head of Yale head coach John Stuper as well:

"I'm sure this joke has been used before, but I feel I need a 'Heimlich Manuever' right now. The kid is liegitimate. I think he is, I've been here 25 years, I've pitched in the big leagues, he is the best pitcher I've seen in college baseball. I think he is the kind of kid to be a first round pick without question.... I said on the air that he repeats his delivery, his breaking ball is outstanding, he has great composure, great stuff, clearly."

"Getting the lead early really helped," said Heimlich. "I was able to pitch off my fastball then and really be aggressive in the zone. You know, you don't really have to pick around. And then late in the game I was able to, they were being aggressive, so I was able to throw some change-up and then my slider was pretty good for the most part."

When told about Stuper's comments, Heimlich responded, "Yeah that's cool to hear. There's always something to improve on. Tonight, I felt like I didn't necessarily command my glove-side of the plate very well, so there's always that to improve on. But like I said I was able to pitch of my fastball and kind of stay ahead in the count."

Oregon State defense: Just as solid as Heimlich's pitching performace, the Beavers defense laid down a secure foundation for Heimlich allowing him to trust his defense and get creative with his pitches. The defense finished with just one error on the game. Not just the infield, but it was a complete, all-around effort from this Beavers defense that included two incredible, leaping grabs at the warning track from the outfield to compliment Heimlich's game. 

Oregon State offense: Junior infielder KJ Harrison added another home run to the firery Beavers bats as well, to extend Oregon State's lead to 4-0 early in the third. An interesting element to this Beavers offensive success, is that the first four runs for the Beavers all came with two outs already on the board, proving that this offense can catch fire at any moment. There were hits all over the Beavers lineup, but starting this hitting train off right was sophomore Steven Kwan who went four-for-five with four hits and one RBI. The only Beaver, in the starting lineup, to not get a hit tonight was sophomore shortstop Nick Madrigal, but then again he did have two RBI's.

"We jsut came ready to play," said Beavers outfielder Jack Anderson. "We had a good game plan coming in... it was pretty crazy, pretty cool way to start the game. I mean, I think once that kind of thing happened we were kind of ready to go." 

A flaw in the Oregon State dynamic offense, however, was leaving 10 runners stranded on the game.

Up next: No. 1 Oregon State awaits the winner of Yale-Holy Cross and will play next at 7 PM tomorrow night in the NCAA Corvallis Regionals final.

Pac-12 honors: Beavers, Beavers everywhere

Pac-12 honors: Beavers, Beavers everywhere

It has been a busy day in Beaver Nation, as a record-setting season was rewarded with numerous individual accolades.

The Pac-12 conference announced its season awards today, and it was littered with Beavers.

Oregon led the conference with six players named to the All-Pac-12 Team: RJr. OF Jack Anderson, So. SS Cadyn Grenier, Jr. 1B KJ Harrison, Jr. LHP Luke Heimlich, So. 2B Nick Madrigal, and RJr. RHP Jake Thompson. Arizona had the second most selections, with five players making the team.

Oregon State also was one of only two schools, Utah being the other, to have multiple players named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team: So. 2B Nick Madrigal and So. OF Steven Kwan.

Oh, but the Beavers weren’t done. Oregon State also won four of the six individual awards.

Madrigal added to his accomplishments this season by being named both the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Madrigal batted .377, with 77 hits, four home runs, and 31 RBIs this season.

Madrigal was among the top five in the conference in multiple offensive statistics including batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, doubles, and stolen bases.

Defensively Madrigal committed just four errors on the season, good for a .981 fielding percentage, and was named to the All-Defensive team for the second year in a row.

Moving to the mound, star Pitcher Luke Heimlich was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. Not only is Heimlich the best pitcher in the conference, he is one of the best in the entire nation. His .81 earned run average is the best in the country, he boasts the fourth best WHIP (.80), and his 10 victories tie him for third most on the season. He is also one of five finalists for the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s National Pitcher of the Year award.

The final individual award the program took home went to a very deserving Pat Casey, who was named Pac-12 Coach of Year.  The man who helped put OSU baseball on the map takes the award for the fifth time in his career, first winning it in 2005. Behind Casey the Beavers set a Pac-12 record with 27 conference wins, and are on pace for the greatest single-season winning percentage in history.

But wait, there’s still more.

Heimlich and fellow pitcher Jake Thompson were named First-Team All-Americans, and Madrigal was named a Third-Team All-American. The All-American selections are a first for all three players.

The future may bring some more hardware the Beavers’ way. Both Heimlich and Madrigal have been named semifinalist for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award, an award given annually to the top amateur player in the nation. The finalists for the award will be announced on June 14.

The Beavers get to put all this talent to good use on Friday when they host Holy Cross in the first game of the NCAA Regionals. First pitch is set for 8:00 at Goss Stadium.