OMAHA, Neb. — Oregon State junior Christian Donahue has been suspended the duration of the College World Series for a violation of team rules, coach Pat Casey said during Friday’s press conference at TD Ameritrade Park.
Casey did not provide further comment.
An infielder/outfielder from Iolani School in Mililani, Hawaii, Donahue has primarily played left field this year for the Beavers (54-4). Donahue is batting .258 with 18 RBIs in 44 games (40 starts) and went a combined 3-for-7 with two runs scored last week as OSU swept Vanderbilt in the Corvallis Super Regional.
Donahue started 47 games as a freshman, hitting .287 with six doubles and 14 RBIs. The 5-foot-7, 167-pounder was a first-team all-Pac-12 selection in 2016 after batting .339 with 11 doubles and 29 RBIs.
Elliott Cary, Andy Atwood and Preston Jones are all candidates to fill in for Donahue when the Beavers face Cal State Fullerton (39-22) at noon Saturday in their College World Series opener.
THOMPSON GETS NOD
Casey confirmed that redshirt junior right-hander Jake Thompson (14-0, 1.52 ERA) will start against the Titans.
Thompson, who allowed four runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in an 8-4 win over Vanderbilt, is Division I’s lone 14-game winner.
Bryce Fehmel (5-2, 3.80) went all nine innings in his start against the Commodores, giving up just two runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Fehmel’s dominant performance gave Drew Rasmussen (3-0, 0.83) the week off.
Rasmussen, a redshirt sophomore righty, lasted just four innings in the Corvallis Regional finale against Yale. He has made six appearances and four starts since returning from Tommy John surgery in late April.
Rasmussen had a bullpen session on Wednesday and said he’s feeling great.
“I wasn’t needed last week, and I’m not complaining,” Rasmussen said. “Bryce and Jake killed it on the front ends and Sam (Tweedt) and Jake (Mulholland) closed it on the back end of Game 1. A week off is not a bad thing.”
Rasmussen did not know if he’s slated to start Monday’s game.
CASEY DRAWS PRAISE
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri had kind words for Casey during the press conference.
“I think Pat Casey is probably the most underrated coach in the history of college baseball,” he said. “Two national championships, so many years, just a phenomenal program that he runs.”
Mainieri is no slouch himself, leading the Tigers to five CWS appearances in 11 seasons in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU won the 2009 national title.
The Beavers are making their fifth CWS appearance under Casey.
Cal State Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook, a former assistant at UCLA, didn’t hold back when recalling weekend travel in the Pac-12.
Outside of Hawaii, all nine Big West baseball programs are in California.
“The Pac is a grind, as is the SEC and the ACC,” Vanderhook said. “Every week you’re on a plane going somewhere. You have to actually go to Pullman, Washington. I do not wish that upon anybody. Sorry, (Washington State coach Marty Lees), but I don’t.”
Vanderhook remembered staying in Lewiston, Idaho, when UCLA made the trip to the Palouse. Lewiston is 40 miles from Pullman.
“It’s pretty far, so I will never go back,” Vanderhook said. “There’s no traffic, but you have to grind.”