Omaha, Neb. -- The Oregon State Beaver baseball team opened the game with a 1-0 lead but fell to the University of Arkansas, 4-1, in game one of the College World Series Finals. OSU pitcher Luke Heimlich had yet another tough outing in Omaha, lasting 4.1 innings this time, allowing three runs and striking out five, and relief had to come in earlier than expected. Christian Chamberlain gave up one run in his first inning on the mound but stabilized as the game went on.
Early on though, it looked like the Beavers were on their way to a Game 1 win. Three innings had passed, and Heimlich looked every bit like the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, and the OSU offense was starting to hum. Third baseman Michael Gretler hit a rope to left center field, scoring outfielder Trevor Larnach, putting Oregon State up 1-0. In the bottom of the 4th, things started to turn a bit sideways. With catcer Adley Rutschman and Larnach on first and third base, Tyler Malone hit a solid ground ball that looked to be a double play, but was double clutched by second baseman Carson Shaddy. The umpires ruled catcher Rutschman committed baserunning interference, erasing Larnach's scored run. Head Coach Pat Casey came out to argue the call, one that drew the ire of Beaver fans all over TD Ameritrade Park. Michael Gretler struck out and the inning ended with no runs on the board.
The very next half inning, Heimlich started to unravel. Arkansas catcher Grant Koch singled to left, bringing the game tying run in. Heimlich then hit one batter to loaded the bases, and another immediately after to bring in a run. The Razorbacks took a 2-1 lead and then a fielder's choice brought in a third. Casey went to the bullpen and brought out freshman Christian Chamberlain to pitch in relief. He walked one more batter in before getting out of the inning, shifting the margin to three runs in favor of Arkansas. As far as silver linings go, it was a career night for the freshman, allowing two hits, no runs and striking out 11 batters, a personal high.
Arkansas pitcher Blaine Knight took care of things from there, going six innings and only allowing one run on seven hits with six strikeouts. Barrett Loseke came on for Knight in the seventh, and pitched two more shutout innings as the Beavers struggled to find the offense that has carried them for most of this month in Nebraska.
Fortunately for the Beavers, the Finals are a best of three series, and both teams will meet again on Wednesday at TD Ameritrade. OSU has had their back against the wall, facing elimination, for all but two games this series: their opening round loss to the University of North Carolina and their Finals opener to Arkansas. Under Pat Casey, they are 21-9 in elimination games. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN and first pitch is slated for 4:00 pm PT.