Beavers end season on tough loss

Mississippi State scores three in fifth to beat OSU a second time
Oregon Stateís Matt Boyd, left, and Nate Esposito sit in the dugout after losing 4-1 to Mississippi State Friday.AP

OMAHA Neb. — Dylan Davis took off his helmet and made the slow walk back toward the Oregon State dugout while Mississippi State players ran on the field in front of him.

When second baseman Brett Pirtle flipped the ball to shortstop Adam Frazier to force out Danny Hayes at second base, the Beavers' dream of a national title came to a crashing and emotionally painful halt at the College World Series.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 4, OREGON STATE 1

RECAP: Mississippi State's Hunter Renfroe, the 13th pick in the recent MLB draft, hits a three-run home run in the fifth inning, and OSU has runners reach second base in six innings but goes only 1-for-8 in those situations.

UP NEXT: Mississippi State advances to the best-of-three finals against UCLA, beginning Monday.

The long trip to the clubhouse wasn't much easier. Tears flowed from Matt Boyd's eyes and players had a tough time not breaking down as they summed up a season that didn't last as long as they had hoped.

"Very emotional," senior center fielder and Ashland High alum Max Gordon said. "Pretty upset, a lot of guys I'm going to miss a whole lot."

"It's just tough," Davis said. "You don't want to go out on a loss. We wanted that game more than anything."

Mississippi State's three-run fifth inning and OSU's lack of offensive punch was too much for the Beavers to overcome on Friday as the Bulldogs advanced to the best-of-three championship series with a 4-1 win over OSU before a crowd of 18,868 at TD Ameritrade Park.

"We had a great season," senior Ryan Barnes said. "The game of baseball sometimes doesn't go your way."

The Beavers ended the season with a 52-13 record and were one of the final four teams playing.

"All all of us are thinking about is the fact that we're not going to be able to play together again," sophomore left fielder Michael Conforto said. "We've been saying it all year ... we want to keep the jerseys on our backs for as long as we could.

"Just didn't come out today, just flat out didn't play well enough. It hurts to lose like that when you're so close and when you're playing with such great guys; it sucks you're not going to be able to play with them again."

The Beavers didn't go down without a fight as Davis and Hayes had singles in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate. But Kavin Keyes flew out to left and Barnes hit into a fielder's choice to end the game.

"That's another thing about this team, we never give up," Conforto said. "Those last few innings we were down a couple runs and we really fought to get some guys on. Just came up short there. It does epitomize just the fight this team has."

Oregon State advanced runners to second base in six innings but could get only one home. It was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and hit into three double plays.

A three-run fifth was enough for the Bulldogs (51-18), who had also defeated the Beavers 5-4 in the CWS opener last Saturday.

The inning started innocently enough.

With the Beavers trailing 1-0, starting pitcher Andrew Moore retired the first two batters he faced.

Then came back-to-back singles by Adam Frazier and Alex Detz. That brought Mississippi State slugger Hunter Renfroe to the plate.

In a ballpark that doesn't surrender many home runs, Renfroe, the 13th overall pick by the San Diego Padres in the major league draft, didn't care as he deposited a three-run homer over the left-field wall for a 4-0 lead.

"Tried to bury it because I knew we had a base open," Moore said of the 3-1 pitch Renfroe hit out. "I made a mistake, left it open a little bit. He's a great player, and he made me pay for it. Left a few pitches up, and they're a great team. When you do that to great teams like Mississippi State, they're going to get some runs to show for it. So they had a great effort out there."

Moore went just 42/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. Coach Pat Casey decided to go with Moore instead of Jace Fry, who had appeared in just five games after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Fry went the final 31/3 innings and gave the Beavers a chance to fight back.

"He pitched as well today as he pitched the other day," Casey said of Moore, who fell to 14-2. "He made a mistake on one pitch, and the two guys before him both hit ground balls and one of them was up the middle, and the other one was in the (second-base) hole and that's the way baseball goes."

The Beavers scored their lone run in the sixth as Gordon drew a one-out walk and scored from second on Andy Peterson's single. But reliever Ross Mitchell came on to get Conforto to hit a weak ground ball back to him for the final out of the frame.

Mississippi State took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. With runners at second and third with one out, C.T. Bradford grounded the ball to Hayes at first. Hayes looked to go home but decided to try to get Bradford instead. Bradford beat him to the bag as Pirtle scored.

But in the end, it wasn't enough as the Beavers lost their first elimination game in Omaha since 2005.

"I don't want to take away from what these guys have accomplished this year," Casey said. "It's very difficult when eight (teams) show up at Omaha and seven of them lose their last game and feel like they had a poor season. So we're not hanging our head at all.

"Our guys are obviously disappointed, and I think they're more disappointed in the fact that they won't get a chance to play together as a team again. But Oregon State University's very proud of our baseball team."


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