Unbeaten national wins leader Jake Thompson was scuffling, his teammates were struggling against Connor Seabold, and Oregon State was facing a four-run deficit that was its biggest in almost two months.
This Beavers team can never be counted out, though. They have, after all, lost only four times.
After reliever Jake Mulholland settled things down for the Beavers and Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook made a pitching change he ended up regretting, Oregon State came back to beat the Titans 6-5 on Saturday in the College World Series opener.
Adley Rutschman hit the tie-breaking single in the eighth inning after having flied out four times and stranded eight runners in his previous at-bats, Mulholland pitched 4 1/3 innings of no-hit relief and No. 1 seed Oregon State (55-4) extended its winning streak to 22 games.
Thompson, who came into the game with 14 wins, lasted 3 2/3 innings in his shortest outing of the season. Mulholland (7-1), who throws in the mid-80s compared with the low 90s for Thompson, retired 12 of 13 batters. The hard-throwing Drew Rasmussen pitched the ninth for his second save.
The Beavers tied it with four runs in the sixth inning, and Rutschman put them ahead with his single up the middle off Blake Workman (6-3).
Timmy Richards’ three-run homer in the first and Chris Hudgins’ two-run single in the fourth put the Titans (39-23) up 5-1.
Seabold worked a strong five innings, but his pitch count ballooned to 97 and he was relieved by Colton Eastman to start the bottom of the sixth.
“They’re really good,” Vanderhook said of the Beavers, “and I’m stupid. I out-thought myself. ... I let them get back in the game, and you don’t do that to good teams.”
Oregon State plays Monday night against the winner of the Florida State-LSU game Saturday night. Fullerton plays the loser of that game Monday afternoon.