Titans Fall in College World Series Opener, 6-5
OMAHA, Neb. – Adley Rutschman's single up the middle in the bottom of the 8th drove home Jack Anderson with the go-ahead run for the Beavers as No. 1 national seed Oregon State came from behind to defeat Cal State Fullerton, 6-5, in the opening game of the 2017 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha Saturday afternoon.
Oregon State, making its 7th College World Series appearance, extended its current winning streak and improves to an impressive 55-4 on the year. The Beavers will face the winner of the Florida State-LSU game Monday at 4 p.m. PT. Fullerton, in its 18th trip to Omaha, falls to 39-23 on the year, and will face the loser of the Seminole-Tiger meeting Monday at 11 a.m. PT.
Blake Workman (6-3) was tagged with the loss as two singles and a hit batter in the decisive eighth inning led to the Beaver's 22nd straight victory. Jake Mulholland (7-1) earned the win with 4.1 innings of no-hit relief. Drew Rasmussen notched his second save with a perfect ninth.
The Titans looked in control through five and a half innings despite only having three hits offensively. Two of them provided the punch that gave the Titans and starter Connor Seabold a commanding 5-1 lead after 5.
Timmy Richards belted the first home run of the 2017 College World Series and his fifth of the year off of unbeaten Jake Thompson in the first inning, a 3-run shot that landed well into the left centerfield pavilion. It was just the fourth home run off the year off of Thompson and the first Titan home run in Omaha since Christian Colon's solo shot on June 15, 2009 against Virginia.
Chris Hudgins got himself in on the action, lining a two-run single to left-center in the fourth that brought home Hank LoForte (BB) and Taylor Bryant (single) and knocked Thompson from the game. Thompson came into the CWS with an unblemished 14-0 record and a minuscule ERA of 1.52. He left after just 3.2 innings – his shortest outing of the year – and having given up five earned runs – the most he had allowed in any game this season.
Seabold labored on the mound, needing 97 pitches to get through five innings. He was unable to retire the side in order in any of his five innings, but worked out of jams and limited the Beavers to a run on six hits.
In the bottom of the second, the Beavers manufactured a run off Seabold with a leadoff double, a sacrifice, a walk and a run-scoring ground out by Steven Kwan. Kwan's ball was sharply hit to the right side, but Titan first baseman Dillon Persinger laid out and made a sprawling snag and got a force at second as the run scored.
Fullerton's Colton Eastman came out of the bullpen for just the second time this year and the first since Feb. 16 (vs. Stanford), to hold the lead, but he, too, struggled with command. He walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth and then induced a sacrifice fly by Nick Madrigal that cut the Titans' lead to 5-2.
Eastman walked a fourth batter of the frame and went to 2-0 to Trevor Lamach before being lifted for Workman. Lamach greeted Workman with a 2-run single up the middle to make it 5-4 and the next batter, Anderson, completed the comeback with a single of his own to tie it up at 5-5.
Oregon State scored the go-ahead run in the eighth off Workman after the Titan righty already retired the first two batters. Scott Hurst made dazzling catch – a running, leaping grab – of a ball almost hit out of the park by KJ Harrison. Hurst went up, crashing into the wall for out No. 2. But Lamach singled and Anderson was hit by a pitch to set the plate for Rutschman's game-winning knock.
Fullerton is now 0-2 at the College World Series against Oregon State. Both games have been 1-run losses in the CWS opener (2007 and 2017).
Southpaw John Gavin (8-2, 2.67 ERA) is expected to pitch for the Titans in Game 5 of the CWS on Monday.