EUGENE, Ore. — Jimmy Rider drove in the winning run with a shallow pop fly that landed just inside the left-field foul line in the bottom of the ninth, lifting Kent State to a 3-2 win over Oregon on Monday night and sending the Golden Flashes to their first College World Series.
Rider’s hit off Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy fell just out of the reach of shortstop J.J. Altobelli and left fielder Brett Thomas, who appeared to lose track of the ball when it was hit.
Derek Toadvine scored from second base before Thomas could make a throw, making Kent State (46-18) the first team from the Mid-American Athletic Conference since Eastern Michigan in 1976 to advance past the NCAA super regional and book a trip to Omaha.
Trailing 2-0, the Ducks (46-19) tied it in the eighth inning on a single through a hole in the right side of the infield by Ryon Healy that scored Altobelli and Aaron Payne.
Healy’s hit was just the fourth — and last — hit of the game for Oregon.
Kent State went ahead early, scoring two runs on six hits against Oregon starter Jeff Gold, who didn’t make it out of the second inning.
The Golden Flashes scored once in the first on a lined single by T.J. Sutton and then again in the second on a bases-loaded double-play grounder by Evan Campbell.