OMAHA, Neb. — No. 3 Oregon State had more than four and a half hours to kill in the middle of Monday’s elimination game at the College World Series.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning, lightning in the vicinity of TD Ameritrade Park halted play as the Beavers trailed 5-4 against rival Washington. It was a critical moment in a do-or-die game for both teams.
“You’ve got to get away from it for a little bit,” Michael Gretler said. “There’s a time to get refocused, but in a delay that long you’ve got to kind of unwind and get away from the game and have some fun. Once we got that official start time, we kind of calmed down and got refocused.”
The delay, which officially lasted 4 hours and 31 minutes, left OSU (50-11-1) with plenty of time to relax.
It started with Joe Casey, who successfully completed what Kyle Nobach called “the bubble gum challenge.” Casey, the youngest son of coach Pat Casey and a freshman outfielder, reportedly stuffed 30 pieces of gum into his mouth.
“He looked like a chipmunk,” Nobach said.
Many of the Beavers also played Mafia, a popular party game that was eloquently described by Tyler Malone.
“You have mafia, you have sheriffs and you have a doctor,” Malone explained. “So the mafia chooses who they want to kill or take out of the town. And the sheriffs try to determine who all is in the mafia, and then the doctor tries to save them and there’s an open discussion. So it gets pretty heated.”
It was unclear if a crime was solved by the time play resumed.
The Beavers were flat early in Monday’s game but erupted after the break, outscoring Washington 10-0 down the stretch to close out a 14-5 victory. OSU is scheduled to play another elimination game at 4 p.m. Wednesday if Mother Nature allows.
Washington (35-26) led 3-0 after four innings and maintained a one-run advantage as both teams headed to the locker room.
“We just kept it real loose in the clubhouse,” Nick Madrigal said. “Some guys took a little bit of a nap.”
Madrigal, OSU’s only captain, addressed the team near the end of the delay. The Beavers were in danger of going two-and-out at the CWS following Saturday’s 8-6 loss to North Carolina.
“He just talked about … it’s win or go home at this point,” Nobach said of Madrigal’s speech. “And that there’s a lot of guys in this locker room that would never put this uniform on again. It means a lot to us, and a lot of people don’t really understand it until you play here and you’re around Case and this program.”
The Beavers had their fun but were ready to perform when the rain finally cleared. Malone walked on five pitches to tie the game, and OSU never looked back.
“We had a lot of fun, good vibes and listened to some music,” Malone said. “But before we went out, Nick got our guys up. He talked to us and we came out ready to play with some energy, so it was good.”