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OMAHA, Neb. - Danny Hayes had a potential game-winning home run caught at the warning track and Michael Conforto became the first Oregon State player to get four hits at the NCAA College World Series, but the Beavers dropped the opening game to Mississippi State, 5-4, Saturday afternoon at TD Ameritrade Park.
Tyler Smith singled to open the ninth inning and advanced to second when Conforto walked with one out. Hayes hit a 2-2 curveball that looked to be gone, but fell just a few feet short of the fence and into right fielder Hunter Renfroe's glove for the final out.
After dropping the first game of the College World Series to Miami in 2006, the Beavers battled back to win their first of back-to-back national championships. They will have to do the same to claim their third national title in eight years when they face the loser of Indiana-Louisville at 2 p.m. CT (noon PT) on Monday.
Mississippi State got the game-winning runs on a two-out double by Wes Rea that knocked in Alex Detz and Renfroe who reached on back-to-back singles.
Matt Boyd, who was making his second consecutive relief appearance, was saddled with the loss when a line drive ricocheted off his back on a liner by Renfroe before Rea's double.
FULL RECAP: osubeavers.com