Oregon State repeats as CWS champion

6-24-07 -- Oregon State became the first team in a decade to repeat as College World Series champion, completing a dominant run through the tournament with a 9-3 victory over North Carolina on Sunday night.

The Beavers (49-18) won all five of their CWS games, including a sweep of the Tar Heels in the best-of-three finals, and trailed for only one of 45 innings they played in Omaha.

North Carolina was runner-up for the second straight year after the first CWS finals rematch since Arizona State and USC met in 1973. Oregon State is the first back-to-back champion since LSU in 1996-97 and the fifth overall.

Darwin Barney's two-run homer gave the Beavers the lead in the second inning of the decisive game. Jordan Lennerton hit his second homer in two nights, a two-run shot in the eighth.

The Tar Heels (57-16) didn't get much going against Oregon State's steady pitching and solid defense, and were shut down whenever they appeared on the verge of a big inning.

Mark Grbavac and Joe Paterson combined to retire the last seven North Carolina batters. Paterson got a called third strike against pinch-hitter Kyle Shelton to end the game and send the Beavers sprinting out of their dugout for the celebratory pile.

"It's crazy. It's just crazy," Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. "I just felt like we were going to win. There is something in that dugout."

The Beavers, who were nearly left out of the 64-team national tournament field after struggling in the Pacific-10 Conference, finished the season with 10 straight wins and became the first to win four CWS games by six runs or more.

"When we got here, we were excited to get in that dugout and in that locker room," Barney said. "We feel very comfortable in there. This is home, baby. This is Omaha."

The Beavers knocked out North Carolina starter Luke Putkonen (8-2) in the second inning after Barney lined a pitch over the left-field wall. Another run scored on third baseman Chad Flack's throwing error.

Putkonen, a sophomore, went only 1 2-3 innings in the shortest outing of his career.

Tar Heels coach Mike Fox made a surprise move by bringing in closer Andrew Carignan, whose appearance in the second inning was his earliest in two years.

Not even Carignan, who allowed no runs and only one hit in 6 1-3 CWS innings before Sunday, could stop the Beavers. Singles by Santschi in the third and John Wallace in the fifth stretched the lead to 5-2.

Dustin Ackley hit his second homer of the CWS and 10th of the season to pull North Carolina to 5-3, but Scott Santschi's third RBI single and Chris Hopkins' infield hit made it 7-3 in the seventh.

Ackley's RBI single in the first put North Carolina up 1-0 and ended a streak of 61 innings over seven games in which Oregon State led or was tied. The Beavers hadn't trailed in a CWS game in 50 innings, since the fourth frame of Game 2 of last year's finals.

North Carolina's first three batters reached against Mike Stutes (12-4) in the first and third innings, but the Tar Heels came away with only one run each time.

Ackley homered in the fifth, and two more batters reached before Stutes induced an inning-ending groundout.

After Garrett Gore doubled in the sixth, Anton Maxwell entered and hit Josh Horton to put two runners on with the dangerous Ackley coming up. Ackley drove a liner into left field that Wallace snagged to end the threat.

In the seventh, Tim Fedroff tried to score on Seth Williams' hit to the left-field wall. But Wallace threw to Barney, the shortstop, whose relay home was in plenty of time to get Fedroff at the plate.

The Beavers lost six position players, two-thirds of their starting rotation and the closer from last year's team. They almost were left out of the NCAA tournament after they went 4-8 in May and finished tied for sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference.

They got on a roll once the postseason started. They were sent to Virginia for regionals and lost their second game to the host Cavaliers. They never lost again.

"We realized during that Virginia regional we could do this again," Stutes said. "We started rolling again."

The Beavers never trailed in any of their first four games at the CWS.

Their closest game here was their first, a 3-2 win over Cal State Fullerton. Victories of 12-6 over Arizona State and 7-1 against UC Irvine got them into the finals.

It was a much easier path than a year ago, when Oregon State lost its CWS opener 11-1 to Miami. The Beavers staved off elimination four straight times to make it to the finals against North Carolina. They came back from a loss in Game 1 to win the title.

Texas (1949-50), Southern California (1970-74) and Stanford (1987-88) also won consecutive titles.


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