FORT WORTH, Texas — The Oregon State Beavers’ magical march through the Fort Worth Regional fell one game short.
The Beavers built a five-run lead in a winner-take-all final game at Lupton Stadium, but the Dallas Baptist Patriots responded with three late-inning home runs to win 8-5, stunning OSU in the NCAA baseball tournament.
The Beavers (37-24) had won three games over the weekend, including both games of a Sunday doubleheader, with late-game heroics. But it was the Patriots that orchestrated a comeback in the deciding game to end the Beavers’ season.
Ryan Wrobleski started the fireworks with a two-run home run in the sixth inning, putting a dent in the Beavers’ 5-0 edge. Then, an inning later, Andrew Benefield stuck an emphatic fork in the Beavers’ lead, crushing a towering grand slam deep to left field.
The jaw-dropping blast, which came on reliever Joey Mundt’s first pitch, gave the Patriots a 6-5 lead and flipped a seemingly one-sided game on its head. In the eighth, River Town delivered the dagger, hitting a two-run home run that barely cleared right field.
After fighting through the losers’ bracket with three wins in elimination games, the Beavers finally ran out of gas. In the ninth, Garret Forrester drew a one-out walk and Ryan Ober hit a sharp two-out single up the middle to bring the tying run to the plate.
But Andy Armstrong grounded out to shortstop to end the game — and the season — for OSU.
The Beavers walked 10 with three hit batters.
Dallas Baptist (40-16) advanced to its second super regional in program history, with the last coming in 2011.
Wrobleski finished 7 for 10 in the regional tournament with two homers.
Zane Russell picked up his first win of the season by pitching 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.