2005 All-WCCBL first baseman Bill Rowe continued to swing a torrid post-season bat and All-Pac-10 closer Kevin Gunderson recorded his second College World Series save as OSU advanced to the CWS Championship Series by shutting out Rice in consecutive games. In Thursday night’s bracket championship game vs. the #1 ranked Rice Owls, OSU’s senior first baseman Bill Rowe got things started in the top of the second with a double down the rightfield line. Rowe would later score the game-winner, the only run Jonah Nickerson and Kevin Gunderson would need, on Mitch Canham’s sacrifice fly. Oregon State’s 2-0 win improved its overall record to 48-15 and advances the Pac-10 champions to the CWS Championship Series for the first time in school history. The Beavers will face University of North Carolina from the ACC in a three-game series starting Saturday, June 24.
Ex-Aloha Knight southpaw Kevin Gunderson finished off the Owls by retiring all four of the batters he faced. Gunderson’s CWS save was his 19th of the season.
Rowe went 1 for 3 with a double and scored the game-winning run. Billy is 8 for 17 at the College World Series with 4 RBI. The left-handed hitter from Ashland, Oregon has collected 14 RBI in the post-season. For the season, Rowe is hitting .342 with 22 doubles, 5 HR and 52 RBI. Last summer, Bill played for the Aloha Knights where he earned a WCCBL Rawlings Gold Glove for his defensive play at first base and hit .286 with 10 doubles, 2 HR and 25 RBI.
The Beavers feature 14 student-athletes with experience playing on WCCBL clubs including starters junior leftfielder and Pac-10 Player of the Year Cole Gillespie (Wenatchee, 2004), senior centerfielder Tyler Graham (Bend Elks, 2004), senior first baseman Bill Rowe (Aloha Knights, 2005), senior second baseman and 2006 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Chris Kunda (Bend Elks, 2004), sophomore setup man Eddie Kunz (Bellingham Bells, 2005) and junior closer and two-time All-Pac-10 selection Kevin Gunderson (Aloha Knights, 2004); and reserves junior catcher Erik Ammon (Aloha Knights, 2005), junior pitcher Greg Keim (Bend Elks, 2004), sophomore infielder Lonnie Lechelt (Kelowna Falcons, 2005), junior pitcher Jake McCormick (Bend Elks, 2005), sophomore catcher Casey Priseman (Bellingham Bells, 2004-2005), redshirt freshman pitcher Rob Summers (Kelowna Falcons, 2005), sophomore pitcher Daniel Turpen (Aloha Knights, 2005) and senior outfielder Geoff Wagner (Bend Elks, 2002-2005).
Gillespie, Gunderson, Graham and Kunda were all selected in the 2006 MLB draft. Gillespie in the 3rd round by Milwaukee, Gunderson in the 5th round by Atlanta, Graham in the 19th round by San Francisco and Kunda in the 19th round by the New York Yankees.