CORVALLIS, Ore. – Someone’s win streak had to end in tonight’s NCAA Baseball Regional winner’s bracket showdown between the Oregon State Beavers and Yale. The nation’s No. 1 ranked team increased its streak to 18 games and improved its record to 51-4 before a crowd of 3,474 with an 11-0 victory over a Bulldog squad that had its string of success end at nine contests.
The Elis (33-17), who beat Nebraska on Friday, must win Sunday at 1 p.m. PT against Holy Cross to keep their season alive in this double-elimination tournament at Goss Stadium. The winner of that gets to play OSU Sunday night at 7.
The Beavers, who are 28-1 at home this year, were eager to get on the board tonight in front of a packed house, and they used two home runs, timely hits and some fortuitous bounces to plate five runs over the first four innings. The wheels came off the Bulldog bus in the top of the sixth and the rout was on.
Yale’s best chance to cut into that margin came in the fourth. Tim DeGraw led off with a walk and then Alex Stiegler went opposite field down the right field line for a ground-rule double. After a ground out and a strikeout, Griffin Dey hit a two-strike fastball to deep center that was tracked down a step from the wall. The sophomore first baseman got robbed again in the seventh with an even better play in right center.
The Elis weren’t just facing a hot team, they were up against one of the best hurlers in the nation, lefty Luke Heimlich, a first-team All-American who brought an 0.81 earned run average and a 10-1 record into the game. He gave up two hits over seven innings.
“He’s the best pitcher I’ve seen in college baseball,” said Yale head coach John Stuper of Heimlich. “We hit him [hard] a couple of times, and we good some good swings.”
Junior righty Eric Brodkowitz got the start for Yale and went 5.1 innings before classmate Tyler Duncan, sophomore Sam Boies and junior Drew Scott finished the work on the mound.
Yale and Holy Cross play Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN3 in their seventh meeting of the season. The Elis won five of six during the regular season. The Crusaders eliminated Nebraska today with a 7-4 decision. The winner of the afternoon game plays the Beavers at 10 p.m. ET with the hope of requiring a Monday finale.
Sophomore starting 2B Simon Whiteman, who fouled a ball off his leg on Friday, was unable to make the lineup tonight. Freshman utility man and pitcher Alex Stiegler made his seventh start at second base in his place… The Bulldogs, the lower seed, were the home team tonight but had the same (first base) dugout as Friday… The last time a Yale baseball team played a No. 1 ranked team was 2014, a three-game series at Louisiana State. LSU grabbed the first two but the Bulldogs won the finale… The Elis wore their white jersey and pants combo with blue letters and blue hats.
The first pitch was supposed to be at 7:04 PT but was switched this morning to 8:04… The game also got switched from an ESPN3 game to ESPNU… There were four (Ivy, Patriot, Pac-12, Big 10) league champions at this regional.
Most college baseball stadiums don’t have seating behind outfield walls. The ones that do typically have some unique features, and Goss is certainly in that category. Other than the bank of right field bleacher seats, there is a scaffolding-like structure on both sides of the batter’s eye in center that serves as standing room for many of the fans you see tailgating beyond the fence before games at OSU. Brings back memories of the party atmosphere of the Starkville Regional the Bulldogs experienced in 1992… Goss is the oldest baseball venue in the Pac-12… Twice a day – and often during games – an orange Union Pacific freight train, a stone’s throw away from the right field fence, passes the park and blows its horn loud enough to prevent conversations.
By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org