OMAHA — Jonah Nickerson pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings in his second impressive start in four days, leading Oregon State to a 2-0 victory over Rice on Thursday night and into the championship round of the College World Series.
Oregon State (48-15), which advanced from the losers' bracket after falling to Miami on the tournament's first day, will play North Carolina (53-13) in a best-of-three series starting Saturday.
The matchup ensures there will be a first-time national champion: Neither school has won the College World Series.
Nickerson (13-4) took the ball for the Beavers after going seven strong innings in a 5-3 win over Georgia on Monday. The junior right-hander gave up two hits, struck out nine and walked three, and was replaced by Kevin Gunderson after striking out pinch-hitter Adam Zornes.
Gunderson struck out Tyler Henley and pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save.
Rice (57-13), the 2003 national champion, was shut out by Oregon State for the second consecutive game after falling, 5-0, on Wednesday. After scoring a run in the fourth inning of its 3-2 win over Miami on Monday, Rice failed to score in a CWS-record 23 consecutive innings.