CORVALLIS – No one was willing to serve any bulletin board material, but the Corvallis Regional will have its marquee pairing, nonetheless.
Oregon State vs. LSU. Luke Heimlich vs. Zack Hess. Pac-12 vs. SEC. The fighters of the World University Series last June playing in the yard of the Beavers.
The atmosphere seems to be strange.
"We will prepare as we would like (for) any other team," second baseman Nick Madrigal said. "The coaching staff does a great job of preparing us for anyone we face."
"We're going to take it like any other game."
Madrigal drove in four runs and Bryce Fehmel hit six hits with nine strikeouts in 7 2/3 tickets to lead OSU to a 9-3 victory over Northwestern State in the second match of Corvallis Regional before a Goss Stadium crowd of 3,908 on Friday night.
The best Beavers (45-) 10-1), also the No. 3 national seed, will face LSU (38-25) at 7 pm on Saturday in a game of winning brackets.
"Two really good teams that are excited to play, OSU coach Pat Casey said he would face LSU again after dropping two of three against the Tigers in Omaha, Nebraska. "They have great players."
Northwestern State (37-23) and San Diego State (39-20)) will play an elimination game at 1 pm on Saturday.
Madrigal, who had no hits in his previous 16 at-bats, stroked a two-run single with bases loaded in the third inning to give OSU a 2-0 lead. He came back up with the bases loaded in the sixth and finished a four-rally rally with another two-run single to left field in the first pitch of Demon reliever Tyler Pigott to make it 8-1.
"I understand that in baseball you will not always get hit every day," said Madrigal. "I really try not to bring yesterday's day to the next day, and that's one of the best things about baseball: you can play the next day."
Madrigal also doubled and finished 3-for-5 to raise his average to the team -Best .403. Kyle Nobach hit his fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot to left field in the fourth, and Zak Taylor opened the eighth with a solo shot to the left for his second homer.
Fehmel (10-1)) dropped a shy strikeout of his highest career mark – fanning each of the top four Demons batters twice – and allowing only one runner in the first four innings. He allowed solo home runs with Lenni Kunert in the fifth and Sam Taylor in the eighth in his 103rd and final release.
"I thought Bryce was outstanding and we got great success from Nobey to get us going," Casey said. "I think that offensively we have to be a bit better, but we did the things we had to do, it's always difficult to win the first game, but we launched and defended."
Attacker Cadyn Grenier showed why he was named Pac-12 defensive player of the year with a jewel in the fifth inning after Kunert's home run. With a runner in first place, Grenier went into the hole in short to backhand a hard hit from Kelsey Richard and threw through his body to Madrigal in the second, beginning a double play that ended with the threat of Northwestern State.
Leave him the best defensive player of Pac-12 last year to describe him.
"It was definitely one of the funniest," said Madrigal. "Cadyn made an incredible play just to get to that ball, not many guys in the country get close to that ball and it made it look pretty easy, and that's why he deserves defensive player of the year."
The Beavers fought the Demons' starting pitcher, left-hander Ridge Heisler, on his first trip through the order as they adjusted to the kick of hesitation in the middle of his rope. OSU achieved eight hits against Heisler (7-3) in 5 2/3 innings and finished with nine.
Heisler said he developed the move as a freshman in college. He cheated the beavers the first time, but not the second.
"You basically have to throw out everything you have the first time just to get them out," Heisler said, "and once they turn around the second time, they've seen what you have and can adjust tone by pitch. good as a team. "
A mistake on Steven Kwan's grounder to second after Jack Anderson's single opened the door to Madrigal's first big game hit.
"They make you pay when you do not play," said Devils coach Bobby Barbier, "and you know why it's a difficult play? Because Kwan runs around 3.9 on the line, so you have I have to give them credit for forcing the error. "
Barbier was happy with the performance of his team, noting that his staff tracks hard balls and counted 17 for his side.
"That other team is really, really good, and they make it difficult for the balls to find grbad or balls to find grbad in this case," he said. "Ridge faced more professional hitters than we have faced throughout the year."
Dylan Pearce retired the last four Devils in order, and the game ended with the third-base stab of third baseman Michael Gretler. Bag. Gretler was one of four beavers named for the Pac-12 defensive team, joining Grenier, Madrigal and wide receiver Adley Rutschman.
"Every time you can win the first game, it's difficult," said Casey. "It's kind of hard to do in the tournament, and I'm proud of the guys for the way they played."
– Ron Richmond for The Oregonian / OregonLive