Beavers More Than Abel to Win NCAA Championship

The Oregon State Beavers rode the arm of freshman pitcher Kevin Abel to the NCAA championship. He was the winning pitcher in the last three games the Beavers won. He started and threw 95 pitches in the Beavers 5-2 win over Mississippi State that got them to the finals. The Beavers lost the first game of the playoffs against Arkansas, but Abel pitched one inning of relief in the second game and got credit for the victory when Oregon State rallied for the win. Yesterday he pitched nine innings of shutout ball, throwing 129 pitches in their 5-0 win. That is 247 pitches in six days.

He did have three days of rest prior to his one inning of work. The 129 pitch work load is something even major league managers try to control. But Kevin Abel appreciated his manager keeping him in and it was probably pretty sweet to be part of the bottom of that pile after the Beaver victory.

Adley Rutschman collected three hits, his first single driving in the first run to give the Beavers an early 1-0 lead. An error in the first inning scored the second run to give Oregon State an early 2-0 lead. Rutschman made it 3-0 with his RBI single in the third. Finally, in the fifth he started the rally with a single, eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Abel was virtually unhittable in the championship game. The only two hits he gave up were in the third inning. With runners on first and third with one out he got a strikeout and pop up to end the threat. That started a string where Abel retired the last 20 hitters he faced. So despite the 129 pitch count Abel was never stressed in the later innings.

Oregon State wins their third NCAA baseball championship. Arkansas will have to wait until next year to win their first, after coming so close this year. This was the second time they have lost in the finals.

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