CORVALLIS — The last time Minnesota won a baseball regional, it went directly to the College World Series with future Hall of Famer Paul Molitor at shortstop.
The NCAA's postseason format has changed since 1977, as Oregon State knows well.
The third-seeded Beavers will play in a best-of-three Super Regional for the seventh time since 2005 when No. 14 Minnesota visits Goss Stadium beginning at 2 p.m. Friday. The second game will be Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with a third game slated for Sunday at 6 p.m., if necessary.
Minnesota (44-13) won the Big 10 title at 18-4 and went on to capture the conference tournament. The Gophers head into their first Super Regional with a 12-game winning streak after defeating UCLA on back-to-back days to clinch their regional in Minneapolis.
Oregon State (47-10-1) is hosting its sixth Super Regional and has advanced to the College World Series after each of the previous five. The Beavers are 10-2 in Super Regional games at Goss, including a sweep of Vanderbilt last season.
"Going into this year, it helped having a lot of guys with experience and knowing what we are fighting for," said OSU junior second baseman Nick Madrigal, who was drafted No. 4 overall by the Chicago White Sox on Monday. "Just to get a taste of Omaha, some guys never get to experience that but we have eight or nine guys who played there last year. When we woke up at 6 a.m. to lift weights in the offseason, that was in the back of our mind. It helped to have a lot of guys who went through that."
Oregon State clinched its regional last weekend with two straight wins over LSU by a combined score of 26-1.
"That is a great club with no weaknesses, a veteran team," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "They are well-coached and obviously had a much better team than we did this year. They beat us fair and square but I wish we had been more competitive in the games. They deserved it."
Add in a 9-3 win over Northwestern State on Friday and OSU outscored its three regional foes 35-4.
"We asked the guys to come out with energy and enthusiasm and you work the entire time to try and get a team to be unified on one mission and they accomplished that," OSU coach Pat Casey said. "We continued to defend, we swung the bats and played at a high level so I am proud of the guys."
Minnesota freshman Patrick Fredrickson was named conference pitcher of the year after going 9-0 with a 1.76 ERA while junior Reggie Meyer is 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA. The Gophers are hitting .302 as a team led by junior shortstop Terrin Vavra at .393 with 10 homers and 59 RBIs. Vavra was a third-round pick of the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.
Fredrickson will likely match up against Pac-12 pitcher of the year Luke Heimlich (15-1, 2.42) in the opening game. Bryce Fehmel (10-1, 2.77) could face off against Meyer on Saturday.
If there is a game on Sunday, freshman Kevin Abel (4-1, 3.58) would likely get his sixth start of the season for OSU after throwing eight shutout innings in Sunday's 12-0 win over LSU.
"Being a starter has been a goal of mine from the start of the fall, but I'm there whenever coach needs me," Abel said. "If he needs me to close out a game or relieve someone or if he wants me to start again, I'll do that."