The Oregon State Beavers are national champions for the third time after defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks 5-0 in the third game of the 2018 College World Series on Thursday night in Omaha, Nebraska.
Freshman right-hander Kevin Abel, who spent much of the season coming out of the bullpen, delivered a gem on the mound. Abel went the full nine innings, allowing just two hits and retiring the final 20 batters of the game.
Abel struck out Razorbacks designated hitter Luke Bonfield to end the game, giving him 10 punchouts. NCAA Baseball shared a replay of the final out:
Abel's dominance—not just Thursday but over the tournament as a whole—was something to behold:
As The Ringer's Michael Baumann noted, though, his workload started to become a weightier question the longer the game went on:
However, Beavers coach Pat Casey had trust in his starter, and Abel repaid that faith by shutting down Arkansas in the late innings.
Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman was the standout offensive performer. He went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Rutschman had an all-time great College World Series en route to capturing the tournament's Most Outstanding Player Award:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
It was a historic CWS for Adley Rutschman. He broke the CWS record for hits, finished tied for 2nd in RBI and recorded a .649 on-base percentage, the second-highest mark (min. 25 PA) by any player since aluminum bats were introduced in 1974 (Phil Nevin .667 OBP in 1992 CWS). https://t.co/N8dQ0xFY9g
Based on Abel's performance, the Oregon State offense didn't need to provide much run support to secure a national title.
The Beavers chased Arkansas starter Isaiah Campbell after two-plus innings. Campbell was charged with two earned runs and allowed an unearned run.
Oregon State got on the board in the first inning with an RBI single by Rutschman before right fielder Trevor Larnach scored on a throwing error.
Rutschman brought in another run in the bottom of the third with a single and then scored the Beavers' fourth run on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Michael Gretler in the fifth.
If Casey had any reservations about bringing Abel out for the ninth, then first baseman Zak Taylor helped put them to bed with an RBI single to give Oregon State a five-run cushion.
A number of key players will depart Oregon State after the 2018 season. Larnach and second baseman Nick Madrigal were first-round picks in the MLB draft, while shortstop Cadyn Grenier was selected 37th overall by the Baltimore Orioles. Left-hander Luke Heimlich is graduating as well.
Abel is evidence the Beavers' cupboard isn't bare. He's an ace in the making, while Rutschman will only be a junior in 2019. A third straight trip to the College World Series will be a tall order, but Oregon State will have the talent to make it happen.