OMAHA, Neb. &
It didn't take Oregon State coach Pat Casey long to figure out when the Beavers dominant run to a second-straight College World Series title began.
Casey believed it was in the final two innings of a regional game victory when Oregon State rallied over Virginia that propelled the Beavers to their 5-0 mark in the CWS that concluded with a sweep of North Carolina in the best-of-three finals Sunday night.
With the 9-3 victory, Oregon State capped a dominant run that saw the Beavers only trail for one of the 45 innings in Omaha. The run started when the Beavers (49-18) scored four runs in the final two innings to rally against Virginia in a regional game.
"I'm not sure why or how but we got pretty energized or inspired and from that time on, there was never a time that I didn't think we weren't going to be very tough to handle," Casey said. "And I don't know why, I've always been confident. This was different: This was magic."
North Carolina (57-16) was runner-up for the second straight year after leaving 18 runners stranded in two games against Oregon State.
OSU became the first back-to-back champion since LSU in 1996-97 and the fifth overall.
"It was something strange that happened and our club felt it," Casey said. "It was some type of energy and it never went away. It followed us on the plane, it followed us to the hotel, it followed us on the yard."
Darwin Barney's two-run homer gave Oregon State the lead in the second inning on Sunday night. Jordan Lennerton hit his second home run in as many nights in the eighth inning.
North Carolina couldn't get anything going against Oregon State's pitchers, who retired the last seven Tar Heels in order after getting an out at the plate to squash Carolina's last chance for a big inning.
"We couldn't just get that big hit," said North Carolina coach Mike Fox, whose team left runners on base in six innings. "I felt like if we just get one, maybe it would spark more."
Joe Paterson got a called third strike against pinch-hitter Kyle Shelton to end the game and send the Beavers sprinting out of their dugout for the celebratory pile.
"When we got here, we were excited to get in that dugout and in that locker room," Barney said. "We feel very comfortable in there. This is home, baby. This is Omaha."
The Beavers finished the season with 10 straight wins, after sneaking into the 64-team NCAA tournament with a sixth place finish in the Pacific-10 conference. Oregon State became the first team to win four CWS games by six runs or more.
"To be able to come to this tremendous tournament &
the best athletic event on the face of the earth &
and to run through it pretty good is very special," Casey said.
The Beavers knocked out North Carolina starter Luke Putkonen (8-2) in the second inning after Barney lined a pitch over the left-field wall. Another run scored on third baseman Chad Flack's throwing error.
Putkonen threw — 2-3 innings in the shortest outing of his career.
Fox made a surprise move by bringing in closer Andrew Carignan, whose appearance in the second inning was his earliest in two years.
But not even Carignan, who allowed no runs and only one hit in 6 1-3 CWS innings before Sunday, could stop the Beavers, who stretched the lead to 5-2.
Dustin Ackley hit his second homer of the CWS and 10th of the season to pull North Carolina to 5-3, but Scott Santschi's third RBI single and Chris Hopkins' infield hit made it 7-3 in the seventh.
Ackley's RBI single to put North Carolina up 1-0 in the first ended a streak of 61 innings over seven games in which Oregon State never trailed. The Beavers hadn't trailed in a CWS game in 50 innings, since the fourth frame of Game 2 of last year's finals.
North Carolina's first three batters reached against Mike Stutes (12-4) in the first and third innings, but the Tar Heels scored just one run each time.
After Garrett Gore doubled in the sixth, Anton Maxwell entered and hit Josh Horton to put two runners on with the dangerous Ackley coming up. Ackley drove a liner into left field that Wallace snagged to end the threat.
In the seventh, Tim Fedroff tried to score on Seth Williams' hit to the left-field wall. But Wallace threw to Barney, the shortstop, whose relay home was in plenty of time to get Fedroff at the plate.
"We had plenty of runners on base," he said. "It just seemed like it just wasn't going for us offensively."
The Beavers lost six position players, two-thirds of their starting rotation and the closer from last year's team.
Their closest CWS game here was their first, a 3-2 win over Cal State Fullerton. Victories of 12-6 over Arizona State and 7-1 against UC Irvine got them into the finals.
It was a much easier path than a year ago, when Oregon State lost its CWS opener 11-1 to Miami. The Beavers staved off elimination four straight times to make it to the finals against North Carolina. They came back from a loss in Game — to win the title.
The rematch from last year was the first since 1972-73, when Southern California beat Arizona State twice in a row during a string of championships from 1970-74.
Texas (1949-50) and Stanford (1987-88) also won consecutive titles.
It's a Beaver repeat
OMAHA, Neb. &