June 16, 2007
OMAHA, NE - Oregon State's Scott Santschi's first home run of the year in the seventh inning proved to be the difference on Saturday night as the Beavers held off a pair of late-inning rallies by Cal State Fullerton to escape with a 3-2 victory in the 2007 College World Series opener for both teams at Rosenblatt Stadium in front of 26,559 fans in Omaha, Neb.
The Titans fell to 38-24 overall with the loss and will meet Big West Conference rival UC Irvine in an elimination game on Monday at 11:06 a.m. PDT. The Anteaters were also one-run losers on the day, falling to Arizona State, 5-4, in Saturday's first session.
Oregon State improved to 45-18 overall and will meet the Sun Devils in an All-Pac-10 winner's bracket match up on Monday at 4 p.m. PDT.
Junior Wes Roemer (11-7) became the school's all-time strikeout king, finishing with seven K's on the night to break Adam Johnson's record of 365 that had stood since 2000, but suffered the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits in eight innings of work without a walk.
He settled down after a rough first two innings, retiring 13 in a row at one point until Mitch Canham broke the streak with a single back up the middle with two outs in the sixth.
Jorge Reyes (6-3) earned the win, holding Fullerton to just a single run on three hits in six innings of work before leaving the game due to leg cramps.
Santschi, who also drove in the second OSU run of the game with an RBI single in the second, launched an 0-1 offering from Roemer over the fence in right centerfield to give the Beavers breathing room after Fullerton had closed to within a run.
The Titans rallied with a score in the eighth off reliever Joe Patterson as a big inning was in the works for Cal State Fullerton.
Joe Scott led off with an infield single off the glove of the OSU third baseman and moved all the way to third when Clark Hardman's ground ball back through the box deflected off the foot of Patterson and skidded into right field to put runners on the corners with nobody out.
Josh Fellhauer then stepped to the plate with a golden opportunity, but his bunt back to the mound was too hard as Scott was eventually tagged out in a rundown between third base and home plate. However, it was enough to move both Hardman and Fellhauer into scoring position with only one out.
Junior Nick Mahin, who finished with two hits - including his team-high 10th home run of the season - on the night, then skied a ball down the left field line, deep enough to plate Hardman from third and make it 3-2.
Patterson worked out of any further damage, stranding the tying run in scoring position by inducing John Curtis to fly out to left field and end the inning.
After a relatively quiet top of the ninth, Fullerton was given new life in its final at-bat, as Evan McArthur's potential game-ending fly ball was dropped by the Beavers' left fielder with two outs.
Eddie Kunz was then brought in from the bullpen for Oregon State to close things out, but pinch-hitter Jon Wilhite kept the inning alive, lacing a single to right field to move pinch-runner Matthew Fahey all the way to third.
Kunz, however, didn't blink, getting pinch-hitter Joel Weeks - who was making only his second trip to the plate since March 14 against San Diego - to ground out to short to end the game and nail down his 12th save of the year.
Fullerton, which had trailed for only one inning thus far in the postseason, fell behind quickly as Mike Lissman's two-out home run to left (his ninth of the year) in the first and Santschi's RBI single in the second gave the Beavers the quick 2-0 lead.
The Titans cut their deficit in half in the third as Mahin skied a deep fly ball down the left field line that stayed fair to make it 2-1.
Canham joined Santschi in the multiple-hit club for the Beavers, finishing 2-for-4.
Fullerton left seven runners on base for the game, five of those in scoring position. Oregon State almost matched the Titans, leaving six runners on of its own, five of those in scoring position.
NOTES: Long-time Cal State Fullerton assistant Rick Vanderhook was elevated to the position of Associate Head Coach it was announced prior to first pitch on Saturday... Vanderhook is in his 21st season on the Titans' coaching staff... Saturday night's attendance was the ninth-largest crowd in College World Series history, but not a Session 4 record... Oregon State had never beaten Cal State Fullerton until Saturday night, going 0-2 at the Division I level in the team's first meeting since 1984 and 0-4 overall... Monday's match-up with UC Irvine will mark the first time in the history of the Big West Conference that two teams from the league will meet in the College World Series. Fullerton defeated Pepperdine, 8-5, in the 1979 CWS when both were representing the Southern California Baseball Association.