Oregon State’s Trevor Larnach hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning after Arkansas blew a chance to lock up the national championship, and the Beavers forced a third and final game in the College World Series finals with a 5-3 victory Wednesday night.
Cadyn Grenier singled in the tying run after three Arkansas fielders watched his foul ball drop between them. Larnach then launched his 19th homer of the season into the right-field bullpen to set off a wild celebration in the Beavers’ dugout.
The game, however, might be most remembered for the play the Razorbacks (48-20) didn’t make, one that would have given them their first national title in baseball.
Zach Clayton, who pinch ran for Zak Taylor after a walk leading off the ninth, was on third when Grenier came up to bat with two outs and the entire stadium on its feet.
On a 1-1 pitch from Matt Cronin (2-2), Grenier popped a high foul behind first base and toward the stands. There was plenty of room to make the catch, and second baseman Carson Shaddy, first baseman Jared Gates and right fielder Eric Cole converged. But no one called it, and it hit the ground, keeping the Beavers alive.
Cronin took a moment to compose himself, wiping his brow and adjusting his hat. His next pitch was way high and, after a foul ball, Grenier sent a drive into left field to score Clayton. Grenier pumped his fist as he ran to first and punched the air twice more when he rounded the base.
Kevin Abel (7-1) was the winner.
Carson Shaddy gave Arkansas a 3-2 lead in the fifth, and Kole Ramage and Cronin turned back Oregon State threats in the sixth and eighth innings.
The Beavers (54-12-1) were the hottest hitting team throughout the CWS but struggled to convert chances in the finals until they caught their huge break in the ninth inning.
They had runners on first and third with none out in the sixth when Kyle Nobach popped up a bunt that Ramage caught. Ramage then threw back to third to double off Grenier, and a groundout ended the inning.
Adley Rutschman, who homered in the fourth, singled leading off the Oregon State eighth and was on third after a passed ball. Cronin came on, struck out Tyler Malone and got pinch hitter Steven Kwan to fly out.