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Oregon State beats Mississippi State to force game Saturday

 

Brett Hudson

 

The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.

 

OMAHA, Neb. -- Turn the page. 

 

As the Oregon State baseball team marched toward a 12-2 victory against Mississippi State on Friday, the focus switched to Ethan Small. 

 

Prior to the game, Small, who has emerged as MSU's No. 1 starting pitcher, was hit in the left elbow by a line drive in batting practice while he was down the left-field line. Small received medical attention to his pitching arm before he retired to the dugout.  

 

After the No. 3 national seed Beavers (52-11-1) forced a winner-take-all game against MSU on Saturday, Small left no doubt about his status for a game that will determine which team plays in the College World Series Championship Series. 

 

"I'm throwing tomorrow," Small said. "I thought it hurt really bad at first, but it kind of went away. A couple of minutes, really, that was about it." 

 

Small said he had his back turned to home plate when the ball came flying his way. All he heard was a heads-up call, one that came too quick for him to react. MSU interim coach Gary Henderson saw the contact and hoped for the best. 

 

"I was hoping it would hit him in a less tender spot," he said. 

 

Henderson spoke to Small for a moment and called trainer Jason Wire to examine Small. Neither Henderson nor Small wavered on the issue who would start for the Bulldogs against the Beavers. 

 

The time of the game will depend on the result of the game between Arkansas and Florida on Friday night. If Arkansas wins, MSU (39-28) will play Oregon State at 7 p.m. If Florida wins, the Gators will play the Razorbacks at 7 p.m. 

 

The best-of-three CWS Championship Series will start at 6 p.m. Monday (ESPN). 

 

Oregon State took control in the bottom of the second inning. The Beavers batted around before they recorded an unproductive out. A leadoff double and single started the scoring before two hits, two walks, and a hit batter accounted for the five-run outburst. 

 

Oregon State chased starting pitcher Jacob Billingsley (5-4) after 1 1/3 innings. Billingsley allowed six runs, all earned. Keegan James worked out of trouble in the second and lasted 3 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and one run. 

 

Second baseman Hunter Stovall drove both in of MSU's runs with a double in the first and a single in the third. Stovall was the only Bulldog with multiple hits in a game in which the team had five. Center fielder Jake Mangum, first baseman Tanner Allen, and third baseman Justin Foscue also had hits. 

 

Small credited Oregon State and said he was prepared to face the Pacific-12 Conference power. 

 

"They can swing it just as good as any team here, but I don't think they're anything incredibly special," Small said. "We put them on for free 11 times today. Fill the zone up, throw off-speed for strikes and you can get them out." 

 

Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson 

 

 

 

 

 

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