OMAHA, Neb. — Aaron Slegers was really good. Unfortunately for Indiana, Matt Boyd was great.
Oregon State’s Boyd threw a four-hitter in a pitchers’ duel the likes of which the College World Series hadn’t seen in three decades, and the Hoosiers’ first appearance in Omaha ended with a 1-0 loss Wednesday night.
“Entertainment value, I think it was off the charts,” Indiana coach Tracy Smith said. “It’s just one of those where you had two guys who were on tonight. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end of that. As a coach you could be disappointed with the lack of effectiveness in the batter’s box, but I think a lot of that had to do with what their guy was doing.”
Boyd struck out 11 and Oregon State (52-12) made a fourth-inning sacrifice fly stand in the first 1-0 game at the CWS since 1985. The Beavers now face Mississippi State on Friday needing to beat the Bulldogs twice to reach next week’s finals.
The Hoosiers (49-16) went 1-2 in their first CWS appearance and were shut out for the first time this season. Slegers allowed seven hits in his first career complete game, but the Hoosiers couldn’t advance any runners past second base.
Indiana finished the greatest season in program history with Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships. The Hoosiers hosted an NCAA regional for the first time and went on the road and beat No. 7 national Florida State in super regionals.
“First, I hope we get some respect,” Smith said. “It was so important for us to get here. This thing seems so far off for programs. Until you’re there and experience it, it’s kind of what you see on TV. It was important for our guys to see it. It was definitely important for me to see it. Now we’ve seen the blueprint. We know what areas we need to improve on. We know what it takes to get here.”
Boyd, who pitched his fourth complete game and third shutout this season, flummoxed the Hoosiers with his mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches. He faced the minimum through four innings. The senior left-hander held the Hoosiers hitless until Michael Basil looped a ball into short right field in the fifth.
The Beavers scored in the fourth when Kavin Keyes singled, went to third on Ryan Barnes’ double and came home on Jake Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly to right.
Slegers said he realized early that he would have to match Boyd’s performance if the Hoosiers were going to win.
“When you know the guy on the other side is throwing well,” Slegers said, “it gives you a little bit more motivation to make those pitches because you know runs are going to be at a premium.”
Boyd earned his first win in five starts since May 10 against Stanford. He had a loss and three no-decisions in between.
The Beavers played error-free defense behind Boyd, picked off runners in the first and third innings and turned a double play in the sixth.
Boyd, who was drafted in the sixth round by Toronto, took the loss in that game, allowing a run on two hits in an inning of relief of Andrew Moore.
Indiana was the first Big Ten team to make it to the CWS since Michigan in 1984. The Hoosiers were the first from the Big Ten to win a game here since the Wolverines beat Stanford in 1983.
But they struggled offensively, particularly against left-handed pitching, after batting .309, averaging 9.4 runs and hitting six home runs in their first five tournament games. The Hoosiers batted .211 and scored a total of six runs in three CWS games.