OSU now faced with (familiar) win or go home

THIS ONE WAS over early. A tight, 1-0 contest Saturday went by the wayside as Oregon State surrendered a 7-spot to Florida in the third inning on the way to a 10-2 defeat. The Beavs now must win three straight to stay alive. But if that sounds familiar to Oregon State fans -- fans who have witnessed a pair of college baseball national titles two of the last four years -- it should.

It won't be easy. But the Beavs have also been here before.

Oregon State (32-23) meets Florida Atlantic on Sunday, the team they beat 6-4 on Friday, in an elimination game at 10 a.m. PT.

But that's only the first step.

If the Beavs win the morning game, it's a short turnaround time. The winner of the OSU-FAU game will meet Florida at 4 p.m. PT.

If Florida wins, they advance to the Super Regionals and it's all over.

But if they don't, a final, deciding game to determine the Super Regional representative of the Gainseville foursome will take place on Monday at 4 p.m. PT.

OSU was flying high on Friday, having bested No. 2 seed Florida Atlantic and poised to take on Florida. But 24 hours later, things turned a darker shade of pale -- such is the nature of the college baseball postseason.

On Saturday, starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio just didn't have his stuff and dropped to 3-4 on the season. The right-hander worked just 2 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and eight runs while striking out one and walking three. He was replaced by Dylan Jones in the third and though the Beavs played Florida even after that, the damage was done.

But, Oregon State in its history has also faced elimination before.

Six times in 2006, the Beavs faced a win or go home prospect in the postseason. They won every time, and took home the national title. Indeed, OSU set a CWS record in '06 by winning those six elimination games -- four in bracket play, two in the championship series.

For an encore, in 2007, Oregon State again faced elimination games six times --- and they won every time on their way to a national title repeat. In so doing, they become only the fifth team in history to win back-to-back national championships, and the first since the super regional format was implemented.

Granted, these are decidedly new faces for the most part here in 2010 from those '07 and '06 squads.

But if history has proven anything in the College Baseball World Series in recent years, it's that one shouldn't count the Beavs out until that final out against the orange and black is recorded.

Play ball.


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