OMAHA, Neb. -- Oregon State wanted to come out and make a
statement against North Carolina.
Falling behind by five runs early wasn't exactly what the
Beavers had in mind.
"I'd say we were pretty frustrated," shortstop Darwin Barney
said. "We planned on coming out with a vengeance."
It just took a few innings.
The Beavers stormed back with a seven-run fourth inning, capped
by Bill Rowe's three-run homer, and Oregon State forced a deciding
game in the championship round of the College World Series with an
11-7 comeback victory Sunday night.
"You saw a bunch of young men with heart, guts and
determination take the field here at Rosenblatt, and hopefully,
that's one for the memories," coach Pat Casey said.
Oregon State (49-16) and North Carolina (54-14) will play Monday
night, with the winner taking home its first national title in
"We're good to get this first win, but we've got a lot of
business to take care of, so there's no party tonight," Barney
said. "We're playing for a national championship. There's nothing
better. What's better than one game for one champion?"
The Beavers are trying to become the first Pac-10 team to win
the College World Series since Southern California in 1998. The Tar
Heels hope to become the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to
win it since Wake Forest in 1955.
Rowe went 2-for-5 with four RBI, and closer Kevin Gunderson
(3-2) pitched a season-high 5 1/3 relief innings as the Beavers
ended the Tar Heels' nine-game winning streak.
"After we got that big lead, everyone kind of calmed down and
we were just kind of putting it on cruise control," Tar Heels
catcher Tim Federowicz said. "After that, they just came back."
With Oregon State down 5-0 in the fourth, Tyler Graham was hit
by a pitch leading off and stole third after John Wallace's single.
"When Tyler stole that bag at third, I think it was just a
message that we're not surrendering," Casey said.
Chris Kunda walked to load the bases, and Shea McFeely followed
with a two-run double. Matt Danford (7-2) came on in relief of
starter Robert Woodard and struck out Scott Santschi for the first
out, but things unraveled quickly for the Tar Heels.
Barney singled past a diving Reid Fronk at third and Josh Horton
at short to make it 5-3. Danford then threw a wild pitch that
bounced in front of Federowicz, deflected off his right shin guard
and into the Beavers' dugout to force in a run.
Mitch Canham drew a walk, and one out later, Rowe turned on a
2-0 pitch and sent it into the lower level of seats in right field
to give Oregon State a 7-5 lead. The Beavers greeted Rowe at the
plate with chest bumps and slaps on the back, knowing they had
turned the momentum in their favor.
"It took a couple of hits, it took a spark," Barney said.
"That's the thing about the college game, one spark can change the
whole attitude of your team."
The scoring outburst ended a 12 2/3-inning shutout streak in
Omaha by the Tar Heels' bullpen. Danford allowed six runs and four
hits in 2 1/3 innings.
"We opened the door and, boy, they really took advantage of
it," North Carolina coach Mike Fox said. "We talked all year, as
I'm sure all teams do, about limiting the big inning. It was a
little unusual for us, especially of late."
The Beavers took an 11-5 lead with four more runs in the sixth
on an RBI single by Rowe, Graham's run-scoring bunt single, Kunda's
sacrifice fly and Federowicz's passed ball that allowed Graham to
Federowicz, 4-for-4 with four RBI, hit a two-run homer off
Gunderson -- after Jay Cox was hit by a pitch -- in the seventh to
get the Tar Heels within four.
North Carolina, which has scored 10 of its 11 runs in the
championship series with two outs, did it again in the second when
Federowicz singled, moved to second on Seth Williams' base hit and
scored on Matt Spencer's single to take a 1-0 lead.
North Carolina scored three runs with two outs in the third on
Chad Flack's RBI single and Federowicz's two-run double off starter
Mike Stutes to take a 4-0 lead.
Fronk's RBI single -- also with two outs -- in the fourth made it
5-0. Oregon State turned to Gunderson with two outs in the inning,
and the closer shut down the Tar Heels and set up one more game for
"There's a lot of teams sitting at home wishing they were in
this spot right now," said Gunderson, his left shoulder wrapped in
ice. "There's no time to be sore, and be hurt right now. It's one
game, tomorrow night: Oregon State and North Carolina."