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Jun-23-2007 07:18

Oregon State Set for CWS Finals Rematch with UNC

OSU is trying to become the first back-to-back national champion since Louisiana State in 1996 and 1997.

oregon state baseball
Photo: OSU Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. - Now it’s guaranteed - Oregon State will play in both the very first and very last games of the 2007 college baseball season.

The Beavers opened defense of their 2006 national championship on Jan. 25 at Hawaii-Hilo, starting their centennial season of varsity baseball a day ahead of the rest of the nation.

Now, five months later, OSU will be playing in the College World Series championship finals against North Carolina.

"I’m very happy to get to the championship game again," OSU head coach Pat Casey said after the Beavers reached the finals by beating California-Irvine 7-1 on Wednesday. "I don’t know what the odds were of doing this three weeks ago. I’m just happy for the guys. It was a great team effort. UC-Irvine is a tremendous club. We’re another step closer to what we want to do every year."

OSU lost five full-time position players, two-thirds of its starting pitching rotation and its closer after winning last year’s national title.

The Beavers got off to a fast start - including pitching a no-hitter on Opening Night - and rose as high as No. 2 in the national polls in late March.

But a rough stretch in the Pacific-10 season when Oregon State lost seven of nine games nearly kept the Beavers from the postseason and having any chance to defend their title.

Once they were in the field for the NCAA Regionals, though, the Beavers got new life and made the most of it.

Now, they face North Carolina in a rematch of the 2006 championship finals; that series went the distance with OSU taking a 3-2 win on an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

OSU is trying to become the first back-to-back national champion since Louisiana State in 1996 and 1997.

The championship rematch is the first at the College World Series since Southern California and Arizona State battled in both 1972 and 1973.

Oregon State undergraduate assistant coach Kurt Steele will now be around for the end of OSU’s season.

Steele flew back to Corvallis on Thursday morning to get ready for his wedding on Saturday; on Sunday morning, he and his new wife - the future former Kathy Gellatly - will fly back to Omaha for the finish of the CWS.

TELEVISION: Live on ESPN cable or ESPN2 cable.

RADIO: Live on KEJO-AM (1240) in Corvallis area, KUIK-AM (1360) in Portland area, KKNX-AM (840) in Eugene area, KICE-AM (940) in Bend area, KMED-AM (1440) in Medford area, KRNR-AM (1490) in Roseburg area, KNPT-AM (1310) in Newport area; KAGO-AM (1150) in Klamath Falls area; KODL-AM (1440) in The Dalles area. Spanish language broadcast live on KXOR-AM (660) in Eugene area; KXPD-AM (1040) in Portland area; KLES-FM (101.7) in Yakima, Wash., area; KDJQ-AM (890) in Boise, Ida., area.

INTERNET AUDIO: Live through Beaver Nation Online at www.osubeavers.com.

INTERNET STATISTICS: Live at ncaasports.com.


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