OMAHA, Neb. — Oregon State’s four senior leaders received the ultimate sendoff at the College World Series.
Playing the final game of their college careers, Jack Anderson, Michael Gretler, Luke Heimlich and Kyle Nobach went out on top as the third-seeded Beavers blanked No. 5 Arkansas 5-0 on the strength of Kevin Abel’s two-hitter. The freshman right-hander’s all-time performance provided a fitting end to four distinguished college careers.
“It’s the reason why I came here,” Gretler said of securing the program’s third national title. “I remember them winning it all in 2006, and to be on a field a little ways away from where they did it, it’s incredible.”
Anderson, Gretler and Nobach played in 525 combined games for the Beavers (55-12-1). Heimlich notched 86 appearances with 49 starts, going 36-13 with a career ERA of 2.49.
OSU compiled a 185-55-2 overall record during the last four years, including two CWS appearances and the 2018 national title.
“It’s an unbelievable group, especially what kind of people they are,” coach Pat Casey said of his four seniors. “And to see them on this stage and perform as baseball players … it’s just a fantastic feeling.”
Anderson, who will begin physical therapy school at Regis University later this summer, was a three-year starting outfielder for OSU.
The Lake Oswego High graduate finished his career as a .276 hitter with 67 RBIs. He started Thursday’s clinching win in center field for the injured Steven Kwan, who missed most of the CWS with a left hamstring strain.
A walk-on turned all-Pac-12 selection, Anderson grew up rooting for OSU’s 2006 and 2007 title teams.
“These last five years have been everything I could’ve dreamed of,” Anderson said. “All I wanted to do was play a game at Goss Stadium when I first got there, and I wasn’t sure that moment was ever going to come at times. But to keep going at it, to get here, to be a part of this and win a national championship is everything I could’ve dreamed of.”
A part-time player his first two seasons in Corvallis, Gretler was OSU’s starting third baseman the past two years.
Gretler drove in 100 runs during his career and finished with 13 home runs and a .285 batting average. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates and will be in the minor leagues before long.
“Playing here is not like anywhere else,” Gretler said. “You really get to become a family, you get to spend every day with 35 of your best friends and your brothers. And when you get a bunch of guys that love each other like that, anything is possible.”
Heimlich, the two-time Pac-12 pitcher of the year, is tied with Ben Wetzler for the most wins in school history. The left-hander is OSU’s all-time leader in innings pitched (387) and strikeouts (385).
Despite going undrafted the past two seasons, Heimlich also hopes to begin his professional career shortly.
“It’s been a fun journey and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Heimlich said. “These guys are my brothers now, some of the best guys I’ve been able to be around. I’m excited to end it this way.”
Nobach transferred to OSU from Everett Community College and started in 2015-16. He redshirted last season following knee surgery and worked his way back into the lineup this spring.
The outfielder closed his career with a .299 batting average, 10 home runs and 82 RBIs. But all Nobach cares about is the team’s legacy.
“If I never play a baseball game again, and it’s tough for me to say that because I’ve played baseball my whole life, I’ll be satisfied because I’m going out as a winner,” Nobach said. “A national champion.”