Beaver baseball wins series over Anteaters, suffers first defeat of the season

Georgina Paez, Sports Contributor

Cracker jacks, seventh inning stretches, and the excitement of being back in legendary Goss Stadium in Coleman Field. Beaver baseball is back.

The Oregon State Beavers took on the University of California Irvine Anteaters in a three-day series this past weekend beginning on March 4. The Beavers hoped to keep up their winning streak of 7-0 back at home in their first game of the season at Goss.

The Anteaters started off strong in the first game of the series with sophomore Woody Hadden scoring after singling to second base with the help of redshirt-senior Ben Fitzgerald grounding out to second base in the top of the first inning.

The Beavers came back when it was their turn to bat; first with freshman infield Travis Bazzana singling up the middle, followed by a home-run from sophomore outfield/infield Justin Boyd, moving the score in favor of the Beavers at 1-2. This set the energy for OSU and from then on strong plays were made all around on both the defensive and offensive side.

This teamwork and coordination led to the Beavers taking the win with a final score of 7-2, upping their winning streak to 8 games. The OSU offensive leaders for the game go to Boyd, with a homerun and 4 run batted ins [RBI], junior infield/outfield Wade Meckler with a double, junior outfield/infield Jacob Melton with a double as well as 1 RBI, and sophomore infielder Garret Forrester with 1 RBI.

The starting pitcher sophomore, Cooper Hjerpe, also had a great run in the game, with 5.1 innings pitched, with only 2 earned runs, and 10 strikeouts. Pitchers who kept the momentum going after Hjerpe for the Beavers include redshirt freshman Ryan Brown and junior Ben Ferrer.

The second game of the series on March 5 started off rocky for the Beavers as the Anteaters made their mark in the top of the third with a score of 3-0. With redshirt sophomore Connor McGuire scoring a homerun for the Anteaters, redshirt sophomore Nathan Church and Hadeen walking at 4 balls and Hadeen stealing second,and with graduate student Jacob Castor doubling down the left field line, his teammates were able to score.

OSU quickly responded to the score in the bottom of the third. With strong plays made by Meckler, Bazzana, Boyd, Melton, and Forrester, all in collaboration with each other and creating a new score of 3-3. The game continued to go back and forth between both teams, each scoring one point above the other.

That is until the 5th inning, when everything seemed to fall into place with the offensive players. With Melton singling to left field, Boyd who was on second base was able to score, making it 4-5. Forrester then walked at 4 balls, letting Melton go to 2nd.

Freshman center/infield Tanner Smith then doubled to left field, allowing Forrester to advance to 3rd and Melton to score, 4-5. And finally, junior infield Jake Dukart homered to right field, upping his RBI to 3 and allowing Forrester and Smith to score. This gave Oregon State an incredible lead of 4-8 over U.C. Irvine.

The Beavers didn’t stop there, as they also gained another point in the bottom of the 8th, courtesy of Bazzana singling to third allowing sophomore infield/outfield Kyle Dernedde to score. The game ended with a score of 9-5, the Beavers victorious in the second game of the series, giving them a 9-game winning streak and clinching the series over the Anteaters.

The last game that took place on March 6 was the closest game of the entire series. In what seemed to be a secured win for U.C. Irvine, with freshman Dub Gleed scoring in the 2nd inning and Hadden in the 3rd, Oregon State came back in the game with Melton homering in the 7th inning, and sophomore Brady Kasper homering in the 8th. The Beavs unfortunately lost to the Anteaters in the 10th inning when sophomore Thomas McCaffrey homered.

Although the boys lost their winning streak, Head Coach Mitch Canham is nothing but determined to keep up the mental positivity when it comes to this loss.

“I don’t really look at the records too much honestly,” Canham said. “I just think of it as: what are our strengths and how do we utilize them to maintain them and where are the areas that we really need to clean up… Anyone can see it, we weren’t getting the ball thrown to the right base, not running the bases where we’re supposed to, not executing the small ball situations. But Irvine played clean baseball, and that’s what kept it a tight game”

Up next, the Beavers open conference play, as they take on the Washington State University Cougars in a three-game series on March 11-13 in Pullman. After that, the Beavers come back home March 15-16 to take on the Grand Canyon University Lopes in a two-game series.