The first national title was hard for Oregon State's baseball team. The repeat seemed easy. Oregon State ended one of the most dominant...
OMAHA, Neb. — The first national title was hard for Oregon State’s baseball team. The repeat seemed easy.
Oregon State ended one of the most dominant runs in the 61-year history of the College World Series with a 9-3 victory over North Carolina on Sunday night. The Beavers became the first team in a decade to capture consecutive national titles.
They did it by winning all five of their CWS games, including a sweep of the Tar Heels in the best-of-three championship series. The Beavers (49-18) trailed in one of 45 innings they played in Omaha, and they became the first team to win four CWS games by at least six runs.
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“To be able to come to this tremendous tournament — the best athletic event on the face of the Earth — and to run through it pretty good, it’s pretty special and it’s a huge tribute to the guys,” Oregon State coach Pat Casey said.
North Carolina (57-16) was runner-up for the second straight year after the first CWS finals rematch since Arizona State and USC met in 1973.
Oregon State is the first back-to-back champion since Louisiana State in 1996-97 and the fifth overall.
Beavers freshman Jorge Reyes, who is from Warden, in Grant County, and was the winning pitcher in Saturday’s 11-4 win over North Carolina, was voted Most Outstanding Player of the CWS. Reyes (7-3) won two CWS games.
Multiple CWS Titles
Eight schools have won more College World Series championships than Oregon State (with team, number and years won):
USC 12 (1948, 58, 61, 63, 68, 70-74, 78, 98)
Texas 6 (1949, 50, 75, 83, 2002, 2005)
Arizona State 5 (1965, 67, 69, 77, 81)
LSU 5 (1991, 93, 96, 97, 2000)
Cal State Fullerton 4 (1979, 84, 95, 2004)
Miami 4 (1982, 85, 99, 2001)
Arizona 3 (1976, 80, 86)
Minnesota 3 (1956, 60, 64)
California 2 (1947, 57)
Michigan 2 (1953, 62)
Oklahoma 2 (1951, 94)
Oregon State 2 (2006, 07)
Stanford 2 (1987, 88)
Mike Stutes (12-4) got the clinching win.
To win last year’s title, the Beavers had to stave off elimination in four straight games after losing their CWS opener 11-1 to Miami. Then they rebounded from a Game 1 loss in the championship series.
There were plenty of trials this season after a 23-3 start. A May swoon left Oregon State in sixth place in the Pac-10 with a 10-14 conference mark, and it nearly cost the Beavers a spot in the 64-team NCAA tournament.
They got on a roll at regionals in Virginia and ended their season with 10 straight victories.
“We’ve had high expectations on us from everybody,” Oregon State shortstop Darwin Barney said. “But every team is gunning for you. Every game, you have that bull’s-eye on your back. Our chemistry has never been questioned, not through the ups and downs.”
Barney’s two-run homer gave the Beavers the lead in the second inning Sunday, and Jordan Lennerton hit his second homer in two games, a two-run shot in the eighth.
The Tar Heels didn’t get much going against Oregon State’s steady pitching and solid defense, and were shut down whenever they appeared on the verge of a big inning.
Mark Grbavac and Joe Paterson combined to retire the last seven North Carolina batters. Paterson got a called third strike against pinch-hitter Kyle Shelton to end the game and send the Beavers sprinting out of their dugout for the celebratory pile.
“It’s crazy. It’s just crazy,” Casey said. “I just felt like we were going to win. There is something in that dugout.”
The Beavers never trailed in any of their first four games at the CWS. Their closest game here was their first, a 3-2 win over Cal State Fullerton. Victories of 12-6 over Arizona State and 7-1 against UC Irvine got them into the championship series.
“When we got here, we were excited to get in that dugout and in that locker room,” Barney said. “We feel very comfortable in there. This is home, baby. This is Omaha.”
The Beavers knocked out North Carolina starter Luke Putkonen (8-2) in the second inning after Barney lined a pitch over the left-field wall. Putkonen, a sophomore, went 1-2/3 innings in the shortest outing of his career.
Tar Heels coach Mike Fox made a surprise move by bringing in closer Andrew Carignan, whose appearance in the second inning was his earliest in two years.
“Any time you can get to their bullpen in the second inning, that’s saying something,” Beavers left fielder John Wallace said. “We knew the closer couldn’t go 7-1/3 innings.”
Singles by Scott Santschi — who previously played for the Community Colleges of Spokane — in the third inning and Wallace in the fifth stretched the lead to 5-2.
Santschi was 3 for 3 and drove in two runs.
Oregon State catcher Mitch Canham, who is from Lake Stevens, was 2 for 4 and scored twice.