Defending champs eliminate Michigan en route to World Series
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State shortstop Darwin Barney can spot the very pitch in a game that signals pitcher Mike Stutes is on.
He saw it early during Monday's game, when the defending national champion Beavers eliminated Michigan 8-2 to earn their third straight trip to the College World Series.
"I believe I looked over at Joey [Wong] and said, 'Uh-oh, they're in trouble,'" Barney said when he saw the curveball.
Stutes allowed two runs on three hits over eight strong innings at the NCAA Corvallis super regional.
Barney was 3-for-5 with three RBIs for the Beavers (44-18), who will face Cal State Fullerton in their opening game of the College World Series on Saturday.
It is Oregon State's third straight trip to Omaha. Last season they won six elimination games en route to the title.
Stutes (10-4) struck out nine and walked just one. The only runs he allowed were a pair of solo homers by Michigan outfielder Eric Rose.
Starter Mike Wilson (7-1) lasted only 1 1/3 innings for the Wolverines (42-19), allowing four runs without giving up a hit.
"Nobody expected us to do as well as we did this year, and I'm proud of all my players," said Rose, a co-captain of the Wolverines.
The first game of the best-of-three series was postponed by rain on Saturday. In Sunday's opener, Michigan starter Zach Putnam had a no-hitter two outs into the ninth, when Wong singled to bring in a run, and Oregon State won 1-0.
The Beavers went ahead Monday with a four-run second inning. Wilson, who struggled mightily with his control, walked Chris Hopkins with the bases loaded to make it 1-0.
He was relieved by Michael Powers, who walked Wong for another run. Barney followed with a two-run single to right to make it 4-0.
"I was delighted when he [Wilson] was taken out of the game," Barney said. "His stuff was really good; he just couldn't get it over the plate."
The Beavers added three more runs in the fifth. Facing Michigan reliever Chris Fetters with the bases loaded, Wong's sacrifice bunt scored Braden Wells. A balk scored Jordan Lennerton before Barney added another RBI single to make it 7-0.
Pitch hitter Mike Santschi hit an RBI single in the eighth.
Rose, who hit the first of his home runs in the sixth, added a second off Stutes to lead off the ninth. Stutes was cheered with a standing ovation as he was relieved by Eddie Kunz, who got the final three outs. Wong hugged Stutes as he left the mound.
After the game, the sellout crowd at Goss Stadium and Coleman Field chanted "Om-a-ha! Om-a-ha!"
"We knew we were going to get some runs. We knew Stutes was going to pitch well," Barney said. "So we knew we had a pretty good chance."
The Beavers received an at-large bid despite finishing sixth in the Pac-10. They won the Charlottesville Regional as the No. 3 seed, beating Rutgers in the opener before losing to top-seeded Virginia in 13 innings. The Beavers eliminated Rutgers before beating Virginia twice to advance to the super regionals.
The Wolverines beat Memphis and then won two of three against top-ranked Vanderbilt to advance to the super regionals for the first time.
"I love my offensive team. Unfortunately we didn't get it done offensively in this venue this week," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. "I didn't think they would hold us down like they did."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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