OMAHA, Neb. – Oregon State won a school-record 52 games and advanced to the College World Series for the fifth time, but saw its remarkable season end in a 4-1 loss to Mississippi State Friday afternoon in Omaha, Neb.
Mississippi State (51-18) strung together five consecutive two-out hits in the fifth inning, including a three-run home run by Hunter Renfroe, which proved to be the difference and eliminate the Beavers in their fifth trip to Omaha.
Oregon State (52-13) rallied in the ninth with back-to-back singles by Dylan Davis and Danny Hayes that brought the tying run to the plate, but Bulldogs’ closer Jonathan Holder got a flyout and groundout to end the game and send Mississippi State to the College World Series final for the first time in school history.
The Beavers got their lone run of the game on an RBI single by Andy Peterson that scored Max Gordon in the sixth inning that ended an 0-for-16 streak with runners in scoring position.
The Bulldogs got on the board first in the fourth with a one-out single to right field off the bat of Brett Pirtle. Wes Rea followed with a double to the gap that put runners on second and third. With a drawn in infield, junior C.T. Bradford smacked a hard grounder to the right of Hayes at first, who gloved the shot and looked at the plate, but ultimately decided to try to get the out at first. Bradford beat Hayes to the bag for a single and RBI.
On an 0-1 pitch, Mississippi State’s Trey Porter lofted a foul pop to the edge of the stands in left, which was tracked down by Michael Conforto. Anticipating a chance to stretch out the Bulldogs’ advantage, Rea tried to tag up, but was gunned down at the dish by the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
The outfield assist, which was Conforto’s second of the CWS, wasn’t his only sterling play in the field. In the second inning, Rea gave one a ride to the wall in left, but was robbed of extra bases as Conforto, in full stride with his arm outstretched, snagged the ball while crashing into the wall.
OSU’s Jake Rodriguez started off things in the hit column for both squads with his double down the line in left with one out in the top of the third. Gordon followed by turning on an inside pitch, but the 6-foot-5 Rea gloved the liner and doubled the Beavers’ catcher off second to end the frame.
Oregon State freshman Andrew Moore escaped some trouble in the third, getting out of a two-out jam with runners on the corners by inducing Alex Detz to fly out to right field. Mississippi State jumped on the righty for eight hits and all four of its runs in the fourth and fifth innings to hand Moore only his second loss of the season to go with his school-record tying 14 wins.
Renfroe’s fifth-inning home run, which proved to be the difference, was only the third of the 2013 College World Series.