June 11, 2006
Corvallis, Ore. - Oregon State (44-14) ended Stanford's 2006 season two wins short of the College World Series with a dominating 15-0 victory over the Cardinal on Sunday night to wrap up the Corvallis Super Regional at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field in two straight games. The Beavers are going to Omaha for the second straight season and will be the only team from last year's field among the eight qualifying for the 2006 CWS. Stanford finishes its campaign with a 33-27 overall mark and its 13th consecutive postseason appearance.
"First of all congratulations to Oregon State," said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. "They have obviously had a great season, and they are a great team. I wish them the very best in Omaha, and I'm sure they will do well."
"From my team's standpoint, I'm very proud of this group," continued Marquess. "It's been a long season with some ups and downs, but they battled back and played very well at the end of the season."
The Beavers set the tone right from the start of Sunday's action with a four-run first and then added six more runs in the fourth to lead 10-0 after just three and a half innings. Oregon State added two more in both the sixth and eighth, before scoring their final run in the ninth.
Saturday night's hero Mitch Canham (2-5, 2B, 5 RBI, SB) had another big game on Sunday with five RBI, while Tyler Graham (5-6, 2B, 3 RBI) had five hits. Bill Rowe (3-4, 2B, 3 RBI) also had three hits and three RBI in addition to scoring four runs and being hit by three pitches to reach baseball all six times along with Graham. Scott Santschi (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) added a pair of hits as well as the game's only home run, while Shea McFeely (2-5, 2 RBI), Chris Kunda (2-5) and Cole Gillespie (2-6) also had two-hit contests. Graham and Gillespie both scored three times.
Oregon State's offensive outburst was more than enough for three Beaver pitchers that combined to hand Stanford only its fourth shutout in 180 all-time postseason games and its first since Western Carolina blanked the Cardinal 5-0 in a 1992 NCAA South II Regional in Tallahassee, Florida. Jonah Nickerson (11-4) earned the victory by limiting the Cardinal to just five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts over the first 7.2 frames. Eddie Kunz got the final out in the eighth when he struck out Michael Taylor and Daniel Turpen struck out two batters in a perfect ninth frame to wrap up Oregon State's third shutout of Stanford in 2006. The Beavers also shut the Cardinal out twice during the three-game regular season series between the teams in Corvallis from April 13-16.
The 15-run margin of defeat was the worst postseason loss in Stanford's illustrious history, eclipsing a previous 17-3 decision at the hands of Miami in the first game of the 1983 College World Series.
"We were never really in tonight's game," admitted Marquess. "They scored four runs in the first inning and were really hitting the ball all over the ballpark. We just could not contain them. They really swung the bats well and then Nickerson was tough on us as he's been all season. We really didn't come close to scoring a run."
Oregon State jumped on the Cardinal with four runs in the top of the first inning to take a 4-0 lead before Stanford even came to bat. Three consecutive singles from Kunda, Gillespie and Rowe brought home the first run. Gallagher made an error on a comebacker that could have turned into an inning-ending double play but was still one out strike away from getting out of the inning without any further damage before hitting Canham with the bases loaded to force in one run and giving up a two-run single to McFeely for the other two scores. The Cardinal finally got out of the inning when Taylor threw Canham out at the plate trying to score from second on Santschi's single to the Stanford rightfielder.
The Beavers turned the contest into a blowout with a six-run fourth that extended their lead to 10-0. McFeely led off with a single and Santschi immediately followed with a two-run homer to end a brief outing for Stanford starter and losing pitcher Nolan Gallagher (3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 SO), who finished his season with a 5-5 record. Erik Davis, who had been a standout for the Cardinal out of the bullpen at the NCAA Austin Regional, came on but couldn't record an out against any of the five batters he faced. Oregon State loaded the bases against Davis on singles by Darwin Barney and Gillespie sandwiched around a walk to Kunda. Rowe the came through with a two-RBI single and Graham belted an RBI double down the left field line before Davis (0.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB) was replaced by Austin Yount (3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 SO), who hit John Wallace and gave up a sacrifice fly to Canham before finally getting McFeely on a groundout and striking out Santschi to end the long inning.
Oregon State got two more runs in the sixth to make it 12-0 when Canham singled home Rowe and Graham, who had been hit by a pitch and singled to lead off the inning before being sacrificed to second and third on a bunt from Wallace.
The Beavers increased their lead to 14-0 in the eighth when Rowe led off with a double and scored on Graham's RBI single, before Graham moved up to second on a wild pitch and came around on Canham's RBI double two batters later.
Oregon State finished off its scoring in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Graham that scored Gillespie, who had reached on a fielders' choice after Kunda had started a rally with a one-out single.
Chris Minaker (2-4, 2B) was the only Stanford player with more than one hit while playing in the final game of his Cardinal career. Minaker, who played every inning at shortstop in each of his last two seasons and started the final 157 games of his career at the position, doubled in his final collegiate at bat with two outs in the Cardinal eighth.
"This was really the most enjoyable year of my life," said Minaker, who finished his senior season as the team's leader and with career-highs in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.364), home runs (11) and RBI (68). "It was awesome even when we struggled. There were no attitude problems with the guys, and they are some of the best people you can ever meet. I'm excited to see where the Stanford program will go in the next couple of years, because there is a lot of young talent. Along with my fellow seniors, this season was a pleasure from start to finish."