OMAHA, Neb. — The SEC has seen enough of Bryce Fehmel.
One week after outdueling Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright in the Corvallis Super Regional, Oregon State’s sophomore right-hander managed to befuddle LSU under the lights at TD Ameritrade Park.
Fehmel surrendered just one run on two hits — both by Zach Watson — in eight innings as the top-seeded Beavers blasted No. 4 LSU 13-1 Monday evening at the College World Series. OSU (56-4) will get three days off before returning to action at noon Friday.
“The main thing was to keep them off balance the best I could, mix all three pitches for strikes,” said Fehmel (6-2). “I did that for eight innings to the best of my ability, and it worked out.”
On June 10 against Vanderbilt, Fehmel went all nine innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts in a 9-2 rout.
Wright, who was knocked around for seven runs on eight hits in 6⅔, was drafted No. 5 overall the following day and agreed to a $7 million signing bonus with the Atlanta Braves on Friday. It’s the largest signing bonus since 2011.
But that night, it was Fehmel who looked like the first-round pick.
“He did the same thing as last time, kept them off balance by getting those three pitches across for strikes and staying low in the zone,” catcher Adley Rutschman said. “He’s got that confidence, and he showed that today. I was just so proud of him.”
Added outfielder Jack Anderson: “He’s a special kid, a special player. He just always come ready. He showed it last year a little bit and he’s really coming around at the right time.”
Primarily recruited as an infielder, Fehmel broke through as a pitcher last year and went 10-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 26 appearances (six starts).
Fehmel was in the starting rotation for the first 11 weeks of 2017 before losing his spot to Drew Rasmussen. He dealt with a sore arm and shaken confidence after consecutive rough outings against UCLA, USC and California.
“Your eyes are the gateway to the soul,” coach Pat Casey said. “When I looked in Bryce's eyes about a month ago, he was looking like he was doubting himself. And he even talked about ‘I had to get my mind right.’ And you just can't do that.
“I think the main thing is his stuff is the same but he really believes he can do what he needs to do.”
Fehmel had thrown just one inning since May 6 prior to his start opposite Wright. He proceeded to out-shine Wright and lead the Beavers back to Omaha.
“I think the bulk of his innings this year probably surpassed his high school four-year career combined,” pitching coach Nate Yeskie said. “Every guy goes through a little bit a rough patch, each guy is not immune to it and I think some time off gave him kind of what he needed.”
Despite walking three against LSU, Fehmel kept himself out of trouble by avoiding the middle of the plate.
He also relied on his superb defense, which collected 14 fly outs.
“It’s great playing behind Bryce,” said second baseman Nick Madrgial, the Pac-12 player and defensive player of the year. “Just the tempo he has out there, it makes it a lot easier when he is rolling and throwing a lot of strikes.”