CORVALLIS — Oregon State, the nation’s top-ranked team, was eliminated Monday night from the NCAA tournament with a 4-2 loss to UC Irvine.
The Beavers (45-14) mounted a late comeback that fell just short. Trailing 4-1 after seven innings, they scored once in the eighth on a pinch-hit triple by Nick Rulli and a wild pitch and had the tying runs aboard in the ninth before Irvine reliever Elliot Surrey forced a double play to end the game.
The Beavers took a 1-0 lead in the third on singles by Logan Ice and Trever Morrison and an RBI by Jeff Hendrix. However, they stranded two runners in the fourth, another at second base in the seventh, and hit three balls to the warning track in center field that were caught.
Beavers freshman Jake Thompson, who is on the Bend Elks’ roster this summer, gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his first start since April 1 and took the loss. Irvine tied the game 1-1 in the fifth, went ahead 3-1 in the sixth and added an insurance run off reliever Andrew Moore in the seventh.
The Beavers had the tying or go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth and the ninth innings.
In the eighth, Rulli knocked a triple off the left-field fence and scored on a wild pitch. Michael Conforto walked, but Dylan Davis then flew out to the warning track in straightaway center field to end the threat.
The Anteaters (38-23), the No. 3 seed in the regional, move on to face Oklahoma State in a best-of-three series in Stillwater, Okla.