College World Series 2018: Oregon State's Kevin Abel delivers all-time pitching performance

Oregon State freshman Kevin Abel turned in a true championship effort Thursday night. Considering the circumstances, the 19-year-old right-hander’s gem was, in fact, a performance for the ages.

Abel threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout on no days’ rest to lead the Beavers to a 5-0 win over Arkansas and the program’s third College World Series title. 

CWS 2018: Adley Rutschman named Most Outstanding Player after historic performance

“My job was to go as far as I could, whether it was three innings, four innings, five innings, it didn’t matter,” Abel said in the postgame press conference. “Just go out there and make pitches, and get as many outs as I could and hand it over to the next guy.”

He never needed to do the latter, throwing 129 pitches in silencing an Arkansas lineup that had not been shut out all season.

Abel was summoned from the bullpen in Oregon State’s 5-3 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday night, throwing 23 pitches in one inning of work and earning the win. Oregon State head coach Pat Casey planned for Abel to go four or five innings considering he had pitched the night before. 

“I never would’ve dreamed that he was going to go nine innings,” Casey said. “Abel just kept coming in and said, ‘This is the easiest I’ve ever thrown, the ball’s just coming out of my hand. I’m relaxed, I’m loose and I have no stress.'”

GAME 3 LIVE BLOG: Comeback kids claim championship

Casey also said that he planned to pull Abel after the sixth inning, but Abel was having none of it. Casey then told Abel that he’d take him out if any baserunners got on. 

Abel retired the last 20 batters he faced. 

“I just looked at the guy and I said, ‘I know I should be taking you out of the game, but how can I do that?'” Casey said.

Abel struck out 10 Razorbacks on Thursday. He finished the College World Series with a 4-0 record, 23 strikeouts and an 0.86 ERA in 21 innings pitched. 

Beavers catcher Adley Rutschman, who took home Most Outstanding Player honors with a CWS-record 17 hits, praised his batterymate. 

“Coming in as a freshman, it’s tough. Pitching is a tough deal. Kevin’s always had unbelievable stuff. I think just the strides he’s made mentally are unbelievable and that’s the toughest part of baseball to improve,” Rutschman said. “Just to see how he’s progressed and the outing he had today was nothing short of amazing. I’m super proud of him and it’s just unbelievable. I feel so fortunate to be able to catch him.”

Share if you enjoyed this post!

Source link