Oregon State won't get to defend title

Oregon State won't get to defend title

CORVALLIS — There will be no three-peat for the Oregon State Beavers, whose season ended Monday when they weren't selected for an NCAA regional.

The two-time defending College World Series champions will miss out on the postseason for the first time since 2004. The Beavers (28-24) had swept nonconference opponent Pacific over the weekend, but finished 11-13 in the Pac-10, tied for sixth with USC and Washington State.

The top five teams in the conference made the regionals. The Beavers became the first team since Georgia in 1991 not to make the postseason the year after winning the College World Series.

"Oregon State stayed on the board for a long time. ... They had some great wins," said Larry Templeton, the chairman of the tournament selection committee, "but they also had some tough losses to opponents that we questioned. ... The 24 losses really kind of concerned the committee."

"The committee struggled long and hard and, quite frankly, probably wouldn't have struggled as long if Oregon State had not been the two-time defending national champion," said Templeton. "The thing that probably was the determining factor was their 24 losses and who some of those losses were against. It was a tough call, but we felt that there were a couple of other teams that were more deserving."

The Beavers played one of the nation's toughest schedules, winning series from Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Georgia, who were all selected for regional play. But Oregon State lost conference series to Washington State, USC, Stanford and California, and the sweep by the Trojans on the last weekend of Pac-10 play was followed by a demoralizing 10-0 loss to Long Beach State the next day.

The season had a promising beginning for the Beavers. After three consecutive College World Series appearances and two national championships, Oregon State raised $5.9 million to expand and improve Goss Stadium.

But the Beavers were missing the dominant starting pitching that had characterized their College World Series teams. Mike Stutes, a ninth-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals who elected to return for his senior season, struggled with his control and finished 4-7 with a 5.32 earned run average. College World Series MVP Jorge Reyes was 4-3 with a 7.08 ERA.

Oregon State dropped out of the national rankings early in the season, returned after winning series from Arizona and Arizona State, and fell out again after the season began to unravel.

The season took a strange turn after the Beavers beat Pacific 8-6 Saturday. Instead of sounding like a happy man, coach Pat Casey sounded like a man ready to hang it up, saying he had been frustrated by this season more than any other.

"I'm extremely tired," Casey told reporters. "More than any season I have coached."

Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis shook off concerns about his coach Sunday, saying Casey was just "grumpy" after a long season and that he would make sure Casey took a vacation.

Miami was selected as the top seed for the 64-team tournament. The Hurricanes (47-8), who won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament for the first time, will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday. Miami, making its 36th straight tournament appearance to extend its NCAA record, was ranked No. 1 in various polls for the majority of the season and opens up against Bethune-Cookman (36-20).

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