Oregon St. vs. LSU
When: 4 p.m. Monday TV: ESPN
OMAHA, Neb. — One of the two longest active winning streaks in NCAA Division I baseball will end Monday night. That much is known.
Oregon State (55-4) has won 22 in a row entering its College World Series showdown against LSU (49-17), which has won 17 straight.
Oregon St. vs. LSU
When: 4 p.m. Monday TV: ESPN
“Something’s gotta give. So we’ll see,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri told reporters after his Tigers’ 5-4 victory over Florida State on Saturday night. “I would like to see you all show up for that game if you’re not doing anything on Monday night. It might be a lot of fun.”
The winner will need one more victory to reach the best-of-three finals starting next week.
The Beavers own the nation’s longest win streak this season with the 23-gamer they had from late February to mid-April. Their current streak began April 30, and win No. 22 was a 6-5 CWS victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
“Honestly, I’m glad Oregon State won that game,” said Mainieri, whose team is unbeaten since May 11. “And I’m glad we won our game even more so. It sets up a great match, I think, on Monday night.”
The programs have met twice. LSU beat the Beavers both times in the 2012 Baton Rouge regional, as Austin Nola scored on a wild pitch in the top of the 10th inning for a 6-5 victory in the second game.
LSU’s 17-game streak ranks as the fifth-longest this season. Missouri had a 20-gamer and Louisville and USF had 19-gamers.
Oregon State can lose one more game and still pass Arizona State’s 1972 team for the best all-time winning percentage in college baseball. The Sun Devils went 64-6 (.914) 45 years ago.
Walker to start for LSU
An injury scare will not keep Eric Walker out of the College World Series.
Late last week, Mainieri revealed that Walker, a talented freshman right-hander, experienced forearm soreness following a 75-pitch simulated game on June 12. But Walker threw again Saturday and felt no discomfort, prompting Mainieri to announce him as the Tigers’ starter for Monday’s game with the Beavers.
“Eric Walker is 100 percent healthy,” the coach said in a statement, which also noted that regular No. 2 starter Jared Poche would be available out of the bullpen.
Walker was not used last week as LSU swept Mississippi State in the Baton Rouge Super Regional. The 6-foot, 172-pound Texan delivered eight shutout innings with eight strikeouts and no walks against Rice in his postseason debut. In 16 starts this year, Walker is 8-1 with a 3.46 ERA. He has struck out 78 and walked 23 in 93 2/3 innings.
Oregon State is scheduled to start sophomore righty Bryce Fehmel (5-2, 3.80 ERA).
Beavers stay resilient
The Beavers had not trailed in five NCAA Tournament games heading into the College World Series, outscoring opponents 44-9 in regionals and super regionals. After 3½ innings Saturday, OSU was down four runs for the first time since a 7-1 loss at UCLA on April 22.
“With this team that we’ve got here, nobody ever panics,” sophomore shortstop Cadyn Grenier said following Sunday’s practice in Boys Town, a village in West Omaha. “We could’ve been down 10-1 and it would’ve been the same mood in the dugout. Nobody is freaking out, nobody is trying to do more than they have to.”
The resilient Beavers stuck together, eventually breaking through in the sixth inning. Walks drawn by freshman pinch hitter Tyler Malone and star first baseman K.J. Harrison — a 13-pitch free pass — gave life to the rally.
“I think it’s kind of a unique thing that your superstars treat freshmen guys that maybe have five at-bats the same way they treat another superstar,” coach Pat Casey said. “That’s one thing that has continued to stand out for me is how they stand up for one another and how they feel about one another.”
In Sunday’s games
Louisville 8, Texas A&M 4: Colby Fitch drove in four runs, Sam Bordner shut down Texas A&M after it cut Louisville’s five-run lead to one, and the Cardinals held on for their first win in six College World Series games. The Cardinals (53-10) used six singles and a walk to build a 5-0 lead in the second inning. Texas A&M (41-22) chipped away against national player of the year Brendan McKay (11-3) to make it 5-4 before Bordner entered and pitched three innings of no-hit relief.
Florida 3, TCU 0: OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo limited TCU to two singles and struck out 11 in seven innings, and Florida posted its first College World Series shutout since 1991. Faedo, the Detroit Tigers’ first-round draft pick this month, had at least one strikeout each inning and retired 10 in a row before leaving. Florida will play Louisville on Tuesday night, while the Horned Frogs play Texas A&M in an elimination game earlier in the day.