Oregon State’s Darwin Barney steals second against UC Irvine second baseman Cody Cipriano in the third inning of Wednesday’s game. - AP

One step closer

OMAHA, Neb. — Oregon State was facing a winless pitcher, but the hits and runs were scarce. Until one error led to four unearned runs.

The Beavers took advantage of an errant throw on what was a routine two-out grounder in the third inning, got strong pitching from Dan Turpen and went on to beat UC Irvine 7-1 Wednesday night in the College World Series.

OSU (47-18) is the only unbeaten team in the tournament and gets two days to prepare for the best-of-three championship series against the winner of today's game between Rice and North Carolina.

The defending champion Beavers needed five games to get to the same position in last year's CWS.

The middle of the OSU lineup had a strong night with Mitch Canham and Darwin Barney notching three hits each and combined for five RBIs.

It was scoreless when Mike Lissman hit a grounder to third baseman Tyler Vaughn that seemingly would end the third inning. But the throw to first was high and Lissman was safe as Chris Hopkins scooted home from second.

Canham, slumping at 6-for-37 in the postseason but batting cleanup on this night, followed with a 400-foot home run off Christian Bergman (0-4) to make it 3-0. Barney singled and John Wallace tripled for a 4-0 lead, which was more than enough support for Turpen (10-1).

"That was a big relief," Turpen said. "I knew that was all we needed and we tacked on a few more."

Turpen, whose lone loss was April 1 at Arizona, gave up five hits while striking out five and walking three in eight innings. He was helped by two double plays and another flawless defensive effort, the team's 32nd this season without an error.

"I was hoping to go deep into the game," Turpen said, "but I never go into a game thinking that I'm going to go eight innings. But I did have three more outs in me."

That was in reference to his jokingly pleading to pitching coach Dan Spencer to let him go out for the ninth inning. Instead, it was Joe Paterson making his third appearance and pitching a perfect ninth.

"He frustrated them most of the evening," OSU coach Pat Casey said of Turpen. "It was an outstanding performance by him, just tremendous."

The Anteaters (47-17-1) scored in the fourth on Ollie Linton's two-out single that just got over the glove of leaping second baseman Joey Wong. But the rally ended and Irvine stranded two runners for the second time.

Wong got that run back in the lower fifth when he led off with a double against reliever Dylan Axelrod and scored on a two-out single by Barney for a 5-1 lead.

Barney added another RBI single in the seventh and Canham singled home the game's final run in the eighth.

Wong, batting second, also had two hits and is 5-for-7 since going 0-for-4 in the first game.

Irvine, which rallied from a 7-3 deficit in the eighth to eliminate highly touted Arizona State 8-7 in 10 innings on Tuesday, couldn't muster any late magic against Turpen or Paterson.

"He did a great job of establishing strike one," said Irvine star Taylor Holiday, who was the victim of three of Turpen's strikeouts. "We just never got him out of cruise control."

The end of the season came after a lengthy road trip for the Anteaters, who haven't returned home since the postseason started for them in Round Rock, Texas. They defeated Texas there to win the regional, then followed with a super regional victory in Wichita, Kan., and then took a bus ride to Omaha.

"I don't know how long it's been since we've been home," Irvine coach Mike Serrano said. "This whole experience has been fatiguing, but that's no excuse.

"We got beat by a better team tonight."

NOTES: Since going 0-2 in 2005 and losing their opener in 2006, the Beavers are 9-1 in their amazing three-year run at the CWS. ... If North Carolina wins today, it would mean the first time the same two teams have met in the championship series since Pac-10 members Southern Cal and Arizona State played in 1972-73. USC won both times in what were the second and third titles of an unprecedented five-year championship run. ... All games in the championship series start at 4 p.m. PDT. ... One Irvine batter was hit by a pitch Wednesday, raising the team's CWS record to 12 in its four games. OSU leadoff batter Chris Hopkins was plunked twice and, all told, there have been 45 batters hit by pitches, also a tournament record. The former record was 36 in 2003. ... Attendance at Wednesday's session, which included two games, was 29,921. That lifted the six-day, 12-game total to 226,459. That's 6,334 ahead of last year's record pace.

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