Seven days after throwing a two-hitter in the College World Series finals, Oregon State’s Kevin Abel was named national freshman of the year by D1Baseball.com Thursday morning.
Abel led all Division I freshmen with 108 strikeouts and finished with a .181 batting average against in 81⅓ innings. He went 8-1 (23 appearances, seven starts) and compiled a 2.88 ERA.
At the CWS, Abel finished 4-0 — the first four-game winner in CWS history — and struck out 23 in 21 innings with a 0.86 ERA. He was also electric at the Corvallis Regional, throwing eight three-hit innings in a 12-0 victory over LSU.
Abel retired 20 Arkansas batters in a row to close Game 3 of the CWS finals, a 5-0 OSU victory that clinched the program’s third national title. He struck out 10 with two walks, throwing 129 pitches.
“That might’ve been the best single pitching performance I’ve ever seen,” teammate Jake Mulholland said. “And that’s saying a lot because we are surrounded by the best pitchers in the country with Luke (Heimlich), (Bryce) Fehmel, Jake Thompson, up and down the bullpen. We’ve had some pretty incredible performances, and that might’ve been the best.”
Fellow Pac-12 standouts Spencer Torkelson (first base) of Arizona State and Zach Pettway (pitcher) of UCLA joined Abel on D1Baseball.com’s All-America first team. Stanford pitcher Brendan Beck was a second-team pick.
Last month, Abel was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
OSU has had at least one freshman All-American in 15 of the last 17 seasons.
Larnach signs with Twins
Trevor Larnach, the 20th overall pick in last month’s MLB draft, agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins Thursday afternoon.
The junior outfielder received a signing bonus of $2.55 million, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reported. The slot value for the 20th overall pick was $3.12 million.
Larnach hit the go-ahead home run in Game 2 of the CWS finals against Arkansas, a two-run blast that put OSU up 5-3 in the ninth. The Beavers went on to win their first national championship since 2007.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound slugger hit .343 with 19 home runs and 77 RBIs this year. He finished two homers shy of Jim Wilson’s single-season school record of 21 set in 1982.
All six of OSU’s 2018 draftees have now signed professional contracts:
• Infielder Nick Madrigal, $6.4 million (fourth overall pick, Chicago White Sox)
• Larnach, $2.55 million (20th overall, Minnesota Twins)
• Infielder Cadyn Grenier, $1.8 million (37th overall, Baltimore Orioles)
• Outfielder Steven Kwan, $185,000 (163rd overall, Cleveland Indians)
• Pitcher Drew Rasmussen, $135,000 (185th overall, Milwaukee Brewers)
• Infielder Michael Gretler, $50,000 (294th overall, Pittsburgh Pirates)
Heimlich, a two-time Pac-12 pitcher of the year, has yet to sign a free agent deal. Multiple MLB teams, including the Kansas City Royals, have reportedly shown interest in the left-hander.