It’s safe to say that the Washington Baseball has exceeded all types of expectations this season. Projected to finish in the middle of the Pac-12, the Huskies proceeded to grind out one win after another during the second half of the regular season. Then, an unprecedented postseason sent the Diamond Dawgs to the College World Series.
It all came to an end Monday at the hands of Oregon State, who powered through Washington 14-5 thanks to a late offensive onslaught.
Unlike the Huskies’ previous CWS contest against Mississippi State, the offense got going early. After Jonathan Schiffer and Mason Cerillo both hit singles in the top of the third inning, Nick Kahle drove them both in with a double to deep left field. One pitch later, Joe Wainhouse singled into left center to score Kahle, giving Washington a quick 3-0 lead.
Two innings later, Oregon State came roaring back. Singles by Kyle Nobach and Jack Anderson in the top of the fifth set the stage for Tyler Malone. Malone knocked a single of his own into center field, scoring Nobach from third. The next batter, Preston Jones, managed a double to right field, advancing to third on an error by Washington outfielder Christian Jones, and driving in Anderson and Malone. Jones then scored himself via a Kahle passed ball.
After a single by Cadyn Grenier, head coach Lindsay Meggs had seen enough of starter Jordan Jones, and pulled him for reliever Stevie Emanuels.
However, it didn’t take long for Washington to take back its lead. Cerillo led off the fifth inning with a single, and three batters later Wainhouse notched his second RBI of the game when he drove Cerillo in on a fielder’s choice. Levi Jordan was next to the plate and singled to left to score Kahle, who walked earlier in the inning.
The top of the sixth inning was where the weather, and the game, completely shifted. The Beavers loaded up the bases for Malone, and then lightning literally struck.
The teams went into their respective dugouts to wait out the inclement weather, and four and a half long hours later they came back out. Malone came up to the plate and drew a walk, scoring Michael Gretler and tying the game up at 5-5.
In the top of the seventh, OSU started to separate from Washington on the scoreboard. Gretler came up to bat with runners on first and second and gave the Beavers the lead with a double to left field. The next batter, Nobach, sent an Alex Hardy pitch deep to right field, driving it just over the wall for a three run-homer, making the score 9-5 OSU.
But the carnage was far from over for Washington. On Lucas Knowles’s first pitch of the eighth inning, Malone hit a solo shot to center field. This was the only run OSU did not score with two outs. Knowles struck out the next two batters, but the Beavers got two more on base and both scored on base hits by Gretler and Adlev Rutschman.
After a couple of Washington pitching changes, Anderson doubled to left, scoring Gretler and Rutschman and increasing OSU’s run total to 14, where it would stay.
Washington put forth a considerable offensive effort before the weather delay, and it showed. But the delay — and Oregon State’s wealth of postseason experience — proved to be too much for the Huskies down the stretch.
Still, the Huskies should be extremely proud of the effort they put forth the second half of the season. Though some key contributors may be departing, such as Wainhouse and Jordan, there is still a ton of young talent in the system. Players like Braiden Ward and Kaiser Weiss will probably be asked to do more next season, as their postseason experience would prove valuable for new players coming in. All in all, the future of Washington baseball is much brighter than anyone could have ever thought.