Sparkplug Gordon forgets folks, stars in game

OMAHA, Neb. — In the aftermath of his two-hit, two-RBI performance, Oregon State center fielder Max Gordon felt it necessary to issue an apology to his parents, Stan and Michelle Gordon.

Because Max, the youngest son of the Ashland family, playing in what could have been the final baseball game of his career, forgot to put them on the OSU pass list.

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All this after Stan Gordon assured OSU coach Pat Casey on Sunday night that his son would start hitting in Monday's game.

"Ugh, they're going to be mad," Gordon groaned after the Beavers' 11-4 win over Louisville that kept OSU alive in the College World Series. "Those two hits, I hope they made up for it."

Gordon isn't sure if his parents got in (if they had money with them, there were plenty of seats available for purchase), but 20 minutes before Ben Wetzler threw the game's first pitch, Gordon realized his error and panicked.

He was so distraught, he said, "I almost took myself out of the game."

Fellow outfielder Michael Conforto assured him it would be OK, and urged Gordon to "just let it go, we've got a game to play."

Turns out, Gordon is a good listener.

Though he came in with just a .229 average, Gordon reached base after he was hit by a pitch in the third inning, then recorded his first hit of the CWS when he connected on a ball that managed to get past Louisville's shortstop in the fourth.

Later in the fourth — it was an agonizingly long inning for the Cardinals, who faced 12 OSU batters — the stunner: Gordon, who had a whopping five RBIs coming into Monday, singled through the left side and scored two.

"I didn't have to bunt to score somebody today!" Gordon said. "Coaches have been harping on me, 'You've got to get aggressive with runners in scoring position,' and I finally got that hit to break the ice.

"I had five RBIs coming in, I've got seven now. I've, like, tripled it, or whatever the math is."

OK, so his math is a little off, but nonetheless, Gordon's performance in the Beavers' do-or-die game was impressive.

"He was our sparkplug today," Conforto said. "He sent out a text last night that basically said, 'They're going to have to rip this jersey off my back.'

"For him, he feels like this is going to be the last time he ever plays. He's a senior, he didn't get drafted and he has to go out into the real world after this. He played like that today."

But with Gordon's performance, which of course included a diving catch in center field (he is a human highlight reel, after all) it won't be his last game.

The Beavers will play again in Omaha, meeting the loser of Indiana-Mississippi State at 5 p.m. Wednesday. And, hopefully, Stan and Michelle Gordon will be in the stands for that one.


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