Former Aloha Knights Bill Rowe and Kevin Gunderson teamed up again to lead Oregon State to a huge College World Series victory and even its series with North Carolina 1-1. Sunday evening, Rowe shocked the baseball world with a three-run homer in the fourth-inning that put OSU ahead 7-5 after going into the inning down 5-0. Rowe would later add a run-scoring single to give the senior first baseman 2 hits and 4 RBI for the game. Gunderson relieved ex-Knight Daniel Turpen in the fourth and tossed a gutsy 5 1/3 innings to earn the win. The Beavers dramatic come from behind 11-7 victory sets up a rematch Monday, June 26 for the NCAA DI Baseball National Championship. Oregon State sends ace Jonah Nickerson to the mound while UNC will counter with first round draft pick Daniel Bard.
Rowe went 2 for 5 with a home run in OSU’s win over the Tar Heels. Billy is making a serious run at MVP of the 2006 CWS and is now 11 for 24 with 8 RBI at Rosenblatt Stadium. The left-handed hitter from Ashland, Oregon has collected an amazing 18 RBI in the post-season. For the season, Rowe is hitting .345 with 22 doubles, 6 HR and 56 RBI for the 49-16 Pac-10 champs. 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.
Ex-Knights’ southpaw Kevin Gunderson earned his first CWS win to go with his 2 Omaha saves.
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.