Oregon State's Darwin Barney, center, is greeted by Chris Hopkins (20) and Blake Keitzman after scoring against Arizona State on Monday. - AP

Beavers, Owls rest without elimination stresses

OMAHA, Neb. — Oregon State and Rice both had a chance to relax Tuesday, knowing they were one win away from the championship game of the College World Series.

And as long as his team plays well, OSU coach Pat Casey doesn't care how his players spend their free time.

"I'm not worried about what our guys are doing before the game, I'm really not worried," Casey said. "If Darwin (Barney) likes to text message somebody and somebody else likes to sleep — somebody else likes to play ping ping-pong and I like to watch video of the other team — I ask them when they cross the line that we're going to do it together."

Both teams practiced Tuesday. Rice, which last played Sunday in a 14-4 win against North Carolina, visited an orphanage Monday and planned to take it easy before today's game, freshman third baseman Diego Seastrunk said.

"We're not getting into too much," he said. "I think we're going to have an autograph session for most of the guys. Nothing too stressful, just trying to keep everybody relaxed."

But the Owls still paid attention to the game, listening on the radio and watching on TV to learn they would play North Carolina again.

"We went and ate at some steak place and watched some of it there, then watched the rest of it at the hotel," Seastrunk said.

Tuesday's day off was a welcome change for Oregon State, a team that spent most of the series last year trying to stave off elimination.

"Having this day off is just going to be relaxing," Barney said. "It's nice to be able to watch the club that you're going to play, just get mental images of the people you're going to play against."

Barney said his team didn't consider Tuesday a day off. He used it to prepare for the next game.

"That's really what our sights are set on right now," he said.

UMPS REACT: A top NCAA umpiring official had to explain the NCAA rules for hit batsmen as the plunks have been plentiful this CWS — most notably Monday when Cal State Fullerton tied the CWS single-team record for hitting five batters.

"If the batter intentionally gets hit by moving or rolling any part of the body into the pitch, the batter shall not be awarded first base," said Dave Yeast, NCAA national coordinator for baseball umpires.

Five more players were hit by pitches Tuesday in the North Carolina-Louisville game, bringing the nine-game CWS total to 33 hit batsmen before Arizona State and UC Irvine played in the nightcap.

The inside throws became especially important when Irvine's Taylor Holiday was hit for the third time Monday to lead off the 13th inning. Fullerton coach George Horton was kicked out of the game for arguing that Holiday leaned into the pitch.

Holiday was thrown out at the plate, but the Anteaters won the game on the next play.

"The application of this rule requires the umpire to make a split-second determination of the intent of the batter," Yeast said, adding that the Division I baseball committee would review the ruling.

WINNING WITHOUT HITTING: One team has won with fewer hits than North Carolina had Tuesday, and that club scored more runs.

In an opening-round game in 1968, Brigham Young pitchers Ken Crosby and Fred Caviglia combined for a two-hitter against Southern California. But three errors cost the Cougars as the Trojans won 5-3.

SHORT HOPS: Louisville struck out once in every inning against North Carolina except in the eighth and ninth innings, when it struck out twice in each. ... Oregon State is the first defending champion to win its first two CWS games since LSU in 1997. The Tigers won the CWS again that year to become the most recent back-to-back title winner. ... Rice has the nation's most wins with 56. ... The Owls are hitting .377 in Omaha. ... A CWS-record 96 baseballs were used in Monday's 13-inning UC Irvine-Cal State Fullerton game.

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