June 16, 2006 - June 26, 2006 • Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, Nebraska • Attendance: 310,609
After playing most of the College World Series with its back to the wall, Oregon State ended up on top of college baseball's dog pile.
The Beavers celebrated their first national baseball championship after pulling out a 3-2 victory over North Carolina, scoring the winning run on an eighth-inning throwing error by Tar Heels second baseman Bryan Steed. The victory, in the decisive game of the best-of-three championship series that drew 18,565 to Rosenblatt Stadium, made Oregon State the first team to win six elimination games in Omaha.
Oregon State followed up an 11-1 clubbing by Miami in its CWS opener with four straight victories that put the Beavers into the championship series. They dropped the opening game 4-3 but came back with an 11-7 must-win. Oregon State then became the first team from the Northwest, hardly a region of the country that is considered a baseball hotbed, to take home the championship trophy.
Oregon State's pitching staff, which appeared to be running on fumes heading into the championship game, also played a key factor in the outcome. Starter Jonah Nickerson, coming back on three days' rest, held the Tar Heels to six hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings. He didn't get the win, as he did twice in bracket play while throwing on two days' rest, but he did wind up being named the winner of the outstanding player award.
The Beavers had taken their 2-0 lead in the fourth when Bard threw away a sacrifice bunt by John Wallace that allowed Tyler Graham to score from second. Wallace moved to second on a sacrifice, and Shea McFeely's single brought him home.
North Carolina made Oregon State sweat out the ninth as Cavasinni singled with one out and Buck walked Kyle Shelton. It was time for one last appearance by Gunderson, the Beavers' gritty little closer who had pitched a season-high 5 1/3 innings Sunday.
He got Horton to hit into a force out — the Beavers came within a whisker of making it a double play — before retiring Flack on a fly ball to center field.
Tim Federowicz, North Carolina, c, Fr.
Bill Rowe, Oregon St., 1b, Sr.
Justin Turner, Cal St. Fullerton, 2b, Sr.
Shea McFeely, Oregon St., 3b, Sr.
Josh Horton, North Carolina, ss, So.
Danny Dorn, Cal St. Fullerton, of, Sr.
Cole Gillespie, Oregon St., of, Jr.
Jay Cox, North Carolina, of, Jr.
David Cooper, Cal St. Fullerton, of, Fr.
Jonah Nickerson, Oregon St., p, Jr.
Kevin Gunderson, Oregon St., p, Jr.