Sports

Omaha bound: McFeely, Barnette will play at College World Series

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

They grew up playing against each other and now Shea McFeely and Tony Barnette are preparing for the biggest stage in amateur baseball — the College World Series.

McFeely’s Oregon State (46-10) squad will be making the school’s first appearance in Omaha since 1952 and Barnette and Arizona State are back at baseball’s Big Dance in search of the school’s sixth national championship.

Both teams qualified for the CWS by winning decisive third games in the Super Regionals. Oregon State downed Southern California Monday, 10-8, and Arizona State knocked out defending national champion Cal State Fullerton Sunday afternoon, 9-8.

McFeely, a 2002 Federal Way High School grad, played a big role in the No. 2-ranked Beavers’ win over USC in Corvallis Monday. The junior third baseman’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly broke a 7-7 tie.

“I feel blessed, humbled, thankful — I guess it’s a coaches dream,” said OSU head coach Pat Casey. “To have so many people here to witness that and to see those guys hold up that sign (from OSU’s locker room) that says ‘The Road To Omaha Starts Here’ ...it’s awesome for me.”

Oregon State is the first Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington and Idaho) to reach the College World Series since Washington State in 1976.

McFeely finished the three-game Super Regional 2-for-11 with an RBI. McFeely also scored two runs, including the tying run in game one Saturday — a 10-4 OSU win. After doubling to right in the sixth inning and advancing to third on a single, McFeely (.320, 49 runs, five home runs and 40 RBIs) scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 4-4.

“I knew my hand was underneath, so I was pretty sure he’d call me safe,” McFeely said. “I had a pretty good jump on it and I thought I was in.”

The Beavers went on to blow a five-run lead in the final two innings in game two Sunday, necessitating the winner-to-Omaha, loser-out game Monday afternoon.

Oregon State will face top-ranked Tulane on Saturday at 11 a.m. The game will be televised on ESPN. The eight-team College World Series starts up Friday and will run through June 27 at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. The 53-year span between CWS appearances for the Beavers is the longest in NCAA Division I baseball history.

Barnette’s appearance in the CWS is a little less surprising than McFeely’s. Arizona State (39-23) is one of the best baseball programs in America and has five national championships in 18 College World Series’.

The 2002 TJ grad and right-handed pitcher didn’t see any mound time during the three-game Super Regional in Fullerton. The junior warmed up in the bullpen, but never entered.

He did, however, start the Sun Devils’ clincher against Coastal Carolina in the four-team Tempe Regional June 5, going three innings. Barnette is 4-1 with a 7.16 earned-run average entering the College World Series and has made 28 appearances and started five games.

The Sun Devils will face the third-ranked University of Nebraska in their College World Series opener at 6 p.m. Friday on ESPN. They are in the opposite side of the bracket as Oregon State.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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