Oregon State's Nick Madrigal isn't ready to leave Omaha

Oregon State breaks game open with 3-run shot (0:44)

Oregon State's Kyle Nobach cracks an opposite-field, 3-run homer to increase the lead over Washington. (0:44)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Nobody is saying that Nick Madrigal wants to shut the door on fun in the Oregon State clubhouse during lengthy weather delays at the College World Series, but leave it to the Beavers' captain to keep his teammates on task.

At some point during the 4½-hour break from play earlier this week as Oregon State trailed Washington in the sixth inning of an elimination game, freshman outfielder Joe Casey jammed 30 pieces of gum into his mouth -- to the delight of teammates.

Meanwhile, multiple Beavers engaged in a game of Mafia, involving fake gangsters, of course, a sheriff and a doctor.

And then there was Madrigal, the diminutive second baseman and recent first-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox -- at No. 4 overall, the highest-selected player in Oregon State history and the highest-drafted player at this CWS.

Madrigal stood up and reminded teammates that if the Beavers lost that game, said first baseman Tyler Malone, "There's a lot of guys who would never put this uniform on again."

Second-ranked Oregon State scored 10 unanswered runs after the delay, winning 14-5 to remain alive for a Wednesday night rematch with North Carolina (7 ET, ESPN and the ESPN app). Oregon State must beat the Tar Heels, then take down Mississippi State twice to reach the championship series next week.

Don't count the Beavers out as long as Madrigal has a say.

He didn't celebrate much when the Beavers clinched a return trip to Omaha with a super regional sweep of Minnesota. For an explanation, reference the article from Baseball America taped to a wall in the Oregon State dugout in Omaha.

"Oregon State's run falls short of title after record-setting season," read the headline.

The lead paragraph, underlined in black ink, packed more of a gut punch: "They could have been the greatest team of all time."

Oregon State started with two wins at the CWS last year, moving its record to 56-4 -- but then lost a pair to LSU. Just like that, it was over.

The Beavers want to flip the script on Mississippi State this week. Even that, though, is not their ultimate objective.

"We've got to finish the job," Madrigal said. "That's kind of been our motto all year long."

Oregon State shortstop Cadyn Grenier offered his take.

"None of us want that NCAA participation trophy," Grenier said. "We want the real thing."

Madrigal has tasked himself to make sure that his teammates stay focused.

"He's a special player, there's no question," Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. "He's humbled. He's gifted. He's just a team guy. Sometimes you get high-profile guys and they think it's about them. He doesn't. He thinks it's about us. That's why he plays the way he plays. He does all the little things."

Madrigal missed 26 games this season with a fractured left wrist, but he is hitting .395 and he hasn't committed an error, while stealing 13 bases in 13 attempts.

He prides himself on doing the little things.

"This program's built on things like that," Madrigal said.

Speaking of little things, Madrigal stands 5-foot-7 and weighs 165 pounds. He lists Jose Altuve as his favorite player. The comparison, while lofty, is valid. Interestingly, the White Sox told Madrigal after the draft that they plan to try him at shortstop and third base to begin with in the minor leagues.

"I'm in for whatever they say," Madrigal said.

Don't doubt him, according to Grenier, a first-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles.

"He plays a lot bigger than he is," Grenier said. "I'm probably one of Nick's biggest fans. Every time I see the dude, I'm thinking, 'You gotta be kidding.' If people are going to write him off, that's a mistake. He can hit home runs, double and triples.

"That's the last thing he's ever going to use as an excuse -- being shorter."

Madrigal is estimated to receive a $6.4 million signing bonus, based on the slot value assigned to his position in the draft.

Nevertheless, Madrigal said, he's concentrating entirely on his remaining work here as an amateur.

"With how much I've put into this program, it wouldn't be right to focus on myself," Madrigal said. "It's easy for me to say that I can put all my attention in this team and these guys, just because of how much I care about them."

Contract negotiations and pro baseball can wait.

He's got messages to deliver in the clubhouse and stereotypes to dispel on the field.

"When I go out there and take the field, I feel like I'm the biggest person out there," Madrigal said. "I feel like when I look at the pitcher, I'm bigger than him, no matter his size. I've always tried to prepare that way. I try to practice as hard as I can, try to train as hard as I can, so when I get on the field, I'm the most confident guy out there."

If it all works as Madrigal plans, he and the Beavers will stand tall in Omaha into next week.