Jason May, OMN Photographer
For the second time in a week, the Oregon State Beavers will play a do-or-die matchup against an SEC team at Goss stadium in Corvallis.
This time, the prize will be a ticket to the college world series. The College World Series will tae in Omaha, NE.
After the Tigers cut the lead to just one run on Sunday night, junior reliever Ben Ferrer retired the final nine batters he faced, sealing the win for his team.
For the first few innings, a pitcher’s duel seemed to be shaping up at Goss stadium, as there was no score after three innings. That is until junior Jacob Melton launched an opposite-field home run off of Auburn ace Joseph Gonzales, breaking the tie. Later in the same inning, freshman Travis Bazzana hit a solo blast of his own, putting the Beavers up 2-0.
But the Tigers would strike back. In the bottom half of the inning, the visitors finally got something brewing against Beaver ace Cooper Hjerpe, and got on the scoreboard after a wild pitch sent freshman Brooks Carlson home from third. During the same at-bat, senior Brody Moore laced a double to center field, tying the game.
After a rough defensive frame, the Beavers bounced back. With sophomore Kyle Dernedde on second and one away in the top of the fifth, sophomore Justin Boyd laid a phenomenal bunt down the third base line.
“Boyd can leave the yard, he can go gap-to-gap,” said Oregon State head coach Mitch Canham. “Anyone in our lineup at any given time can put the ball on the ground like that when called on.”
It definitely worked. Causing Auburn’s defense to scramble, pitcher Joseph Gonzales threw the ball away trying to get Boyd at first base, and the error allowed Dernedde to score from second. It was a huge swing in momentum, putting the Beavers back on top.
“To put a guy in scoring position puts a ton of pressure on the defense,” Canham said. “When you put a guy in scoring position, one mistake can cost you a run.”
Things got tense once again at Goss stadium in the bottom of the sixth, when a wild pitch from Ben Ferrer allowed a run to score, making it a 4-3 ball game. From there on out, however, the 5’11”, 212 pound right-hander was nails.
After allowing a run in the sixth, Ferrer went on to retire the final nine Tiger hitters he faced, including a backwards strikeout to end the game in the ninth.
“Incredible performance,” said coach Canham. “Ben has been here one year, and to watch him transform into a true Beav like this guy has, has been remarkable. There’s a guy behind him that’s hot and ready to go should trouble come about, but Ben was looking sharp, man.”
While Ferrer was phenomenal in relief, star left-hander Cooper Hjerpe picked up the win for the Beavers. Hjerpe pitched 5.2 innings and allowed two runs, just one day after he was scratched from his start due to illness.
“For him to be under the weather watching us go down last night, he didn’t want anything more than to go out and be the guy he’s been all year and dominate,” said Travis Bazzana. “He went out there and showed why he’s possibly the best pitcher in the country.”
While seven different Beavers tallied hits last night, Justin Boyd led the way going three for five. Travis Bazzana finished with a hit, a walk drawn and an RBI.
On the hill for Oregon State, Cooper Hjerpe struck out six and gave up three earned runs in 5.2 innings of work. In relief, Ben Ferrer gave up no hits and zero earned runs in 3.1 innings on the mound, and picked up a crucial save.
The 4-3 game two win sets up a winner-take-all match on Monday in the Corvallis super regional between the two sides. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 PM, and the Beavers are expected to start freshman Jacob Kmatz.