Beavers left out of NCAA tournament
CORVALLIS — The Oregon State baseball team gathered privately Monday morning at Goss Stadium, eager to learn its postseason destination.
As winners of five of their last six, the Beavers (35-19, 16-14 Pac-12 Conference) were confident they’d hear their names called during the NCAA tournament selection show.
But the team never did.
In a stunning turn of events, OSU was left of out the field of 64 for the first time since 2008.
“We definitely thought we took care of business in the last couple weeks of the season, and I don’t think you could hear anybody in the room talking when it got down to the final four regionals,” junior Caleb Hamilton said. “I know everybody is really shocked. We didn’t really know where our name was going to pop up, but we were expecting it to. But life’s not fair and this is just giving us another chip on our shoulder heading into next year.”
According to the NCAA Division 1 Baseball Committee, the Beavers were the second team out behind North Carolina (34-21). The last three in were Southeastern Louisiana (39-19), Nebraska (37-20) and South Alabama (40-20). Bubble teams Washington (32-21) and Georgia Tech (36-23) also made the field.
South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann is the chair of the selection committee, which also includes Georgia Tech AD Mike Bobinski. Washington coach Lindsay Meggs is a Pac-12 advisor for the committee.
OSU took two of three from the Huskies and finished 11 spots higher in the RPI, 44 to 55. Nebraska (48), South Alabama (48) and at-large No. 2 seed Minnesota (51) also had weaker RPIs than the Beavers.
“It’s a horrible feeling,” junior outfielder Kyle Nobach said. “You work for something so hard and you put everything you’ve got into something and one of the worst things in sports is not succeeding and getting what you want.”
OSU began the year 16-2 but was up-and-down the rest of the way. The team was swept on the road at California and Arizona while suffering a bad home loss to Oregon.
But the Beavers won five of their last six, including three consecutive shutouts against UCLA, to put themselves in a position to be selected.
“I’ve been on that coin and been excited and been disappointed all throughout the many, many years,” coach Pat Casey said after Sunday’s finale. “I would hope that we did what we needed to do. … I understand that there’s some games that we lost that could hurt us, but I’m confident that we have done what we needed to do to get in the tournament.”
Unfortunately for the Beavers, it wasn’t enough.
Hamilton said the team sat in silence for about a minute after the final regional was unveiled. He said Casey gave a short speech and everyone departed.
“I think we were all kind of in a state of disbelief,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t know what to do or what to say.”
Arizona State (34-21), which OSU swept, is a No. 2 seed in the Fort Worth, Texas, regional. Arizona (38-20) is seeded second in Lafayette, Louisiana, while the Huskies are a No. 3 seed in Nashville.
Fresh off its first Pac-12 title, Utah (25-27) is the No. 4 seed in Oxford, Mississippi.
No Pac-12 teams from Oregon or California made the field of 64.
Nobach, who was back in the weight room shortly after the selection show, said he's taking the snub personally.
“We’re coming. It’s a complete insult and the selection committee, that’s their thing,” Nobach said. “We controlled what we can control and didn’t give up a run in the last 27 innings. We won four straight games.
“I’ve never really felt like this in a sporting event. When something doesn’t go your way, the only thing to do is keep working, leave no doubt, and just show everybody who we are and come back with that fire in our bellies for the entire season.”