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.