OSU advances to NCAA Super Regionals

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Bill Rowe drove in six runs and Tyler Graham was 3-for-4 with three runs batted in and three runs scored for Oregon State as the No. 8-ranked Beavers beat Hawai'i 12-3 to win the championship of the NCAA Corvallis Regional baseball tournament Sunday evening at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.

Hawai'i (45-17) had beaten Kansas 9-5 earlier Sunday to reach the championship pairing, but would have needed to beat the Beavers twice to win the tournament.

OSU (42-14 overall) advances to face Stanford, the winner of the Austin Regional, next weekend in the NCAA Super Regionals. The site and dates of the best-of-three series between Oregon State and Stanford will be announced Monday at approximately 8 p.m. on ncaasports.com. Should OSU be selected as the site, tickets would go on sale Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.; more information is available on osubeavers.com.

On Sunday, a crowd of 2,783 saw the Beavers reach the Super Regionals for the second straight season, as OSU pulled away from the Rainbows with three runs in the sixth inning and four more in the seventh.

"I'm very, very proud of my guys," OSU head coach Pat Casey said. "I think we started out ranked sixth or seventh in the country in most polls and that is difficult to sustain and maintain, so I'm very proud of our club. I thought they played well throughout the regional."

The Beavers went through the bracket unbeaten in three games, running their home record to 25-4 this season and 51-9 over the past two seasons.

"It's a great feeling," said OSU outfielder Cole Gillespie, who was 3-for-5 on the night. "Playing at home is definitely exciting for all our guys. We have some great fans out there and the atmosphere is just awesome. We take great pride in winning at home."

OSU second baseman Chris Kunda, who drove in the winning runs with an eighth-inning double against Wright State on Friday night and homered twice in a win over Kansas on Saturday night, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. He was joined on the all-tournament squad by teammates Gillespie, Graham, pitcher Jonah Nickerson and shortstop Darwin Barney.

In its three tournament games, the Beavers outscored their opponents 28-9.

Said Kunda: "I think there was a bit of momentum. We kind of got over the hump on Friday against Wright State and came out Saturday with more energy. We really wanted to finish this series tonight without having to play another game Monday. After Friday night, it kind of snowballed into Saturday and Sunday."

The Beavers were the designated visiting team in Sunday's game and they took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Barney led off with a walk and scored on Mitch Canham's sacrifice fly. OSU made it 4-0 in the top of the third inning as the Beavers started the frame with four straight singles against Hawai'i starter Matt Daly; Graham's single to left drove in two runs and Rowe added a run-scoring groundout.

Rowe added a sacrifice fly in the fifth, a two-run double in the seventh and a two-run single in the eight; it was the first time an OSU player had driven in six runs since Tony Calderon did it against Portland on May 18, 2004; Rowe figured it was the first time he'd done it since "my 12-year-old year in Little League."

"Tonight I was just a victim of circumstance," Rowe said. "There were so many guys on base in front of me, it makes it easy."

Hawai'i did get within 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth when it strung together four straight two-out hits against OSU starter Mike Stutes, picking up runs on singles by Jonathan Hee and Esteban Lopez. Rowe's sacrifice fly put the Beavers back up 5-2 in the fifth.

In the sixth, back-to-back doubles by Hawai'i's Kris Sanchez and Lopez got the Rainbows within 5-3, and a walk by Stutes and a hit batter by reliever Joe Paterson loaded the bases. But pinch-hitter Jorge Franco lined out softly to Barney to end the inning, and the Beavers put the game in hand in the seventh and eighth.

Stutes got the win to improve to 7-2 this season; in 5 2/3 innings, he allowd three runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out four.

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