Despite rainy weather conditions, Beaver baseball takes first game against Ducks

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Sam Misa, OMN Photographer

Oregon State sophomore left-handed pitcher Cooper Hjerpe throwing the ball to first base against the University of Oregon Ducks at Goss Stadium on May 6, 2022. Despite a 75 minute weather delay, the Beavers defeated the Ducks in the first of a three-game series, 5-1.

Ben Pahl, Sports Contributor

The Oregon State Beavers defeated the Oregon Ducks 5-1 at Goss stadium on Friday night in the opener of a three-game conference slate against their in-state rivals.

It was anything but a typical baseball night in Corvallis, as both teams had to battle weather conditions in addition to their opponents.  Originally scheduled for 7 p.m., steady rain pushed the start time back to 8:15.  After playing the first three and a half innings, weather conditions struck again, stopping the contest for another fifteen minutes.

“How we communicate in the clubhouse, making sure guys use that downtime to also relax but then be able to ramp back up,” said Oregon State head coach Mitch Canham.  “You’re playing a rivalry series, and it’s an important part of the season, you know, finish strong, and I think the energy was solid.  Guys in the dugout continued to pick each other up.”

Surrendering just one run on Friday after blanking their bitter rivals in Eugene on Tuesday, it was another masterful performance on the mound from Oregon State sophomore left-handed pitcher Cooper Hjerpe. Allowing just one earned run and striking out 11 in six innings of work, Hjerpe was asked what the key to success was against a strong Oregon lineup.

“I think it’s just filling up the zone,” Hjerpe said. “It’s standard that the one walk I give up one run that inning, so if there’s something to take out of this game it’s limiting the free bases, it was only one but at the end of the day it was the only run they got.”

Even when their star left-hander was pulled after 105 pitches, Beaver pitching did not take a hit on Friday night.  Inheriting two runners on with nobody out, Oregon State junior right-handed pitcher Ben Ferrer got out of a bases loaded situation in the seventh, and struck out six while giving up no runs in three innings of work.

A key spot in Friday night’s contest came in the bottom of the fourth inning.  With the bases loaded and two outs, the Beaver offense faced Oregon junior reliever Christian Ciuffetelli with the game knotted up at one.  After fighting his way back from a 1-2 count, Oregon State sophomore right fielder Justin Boyd drew a walk to bring home junior Gavin Logan.

In the very next at-bat, Oregon State junior center fielder Jacob Melton plated another run for the Beavers after working a nine-pitch walk. Canham praised his team’s patient offensive approach in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“Sometimes you go up there and you think I gotta get the hit, and the last thing that happens is getting a hit, as opposed to just going up there and winning pitches,” Canham said.  “I know there are some times with guys on base and you wanna do everything, but in that inning guys were using their eyes.”

With the result, Hjerpe improves to 9-1 on the season, and now has a phenomenal strikeout to walk ratio with 120 K’s to just 14 BB’s.  In addition, Ferrer now holds a 1.48 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched after Friday night’s outing.

While the Beavers only mustered six hits in the game, they wore down Oregon pitching with quality at-bats, drawing a remarkable 11 walks on the night.  Oregon State freshman infielder Travis Bazzana went 0 for 2, however he walked three times and scored two runs. Melton drew two walks himself, one of which scored a run, while Boyd went 1 for 4 and brought home a run by taking ball four with the bases loaded.

Up next, the Beavers will turn their attention to the final two games of the series against their rival Oregon, who trail the Beavers by three games in the PAC-12 standings.

First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday night, while Sunday’s game will start at 2 p.m.