Beaver Baseball loses key seniors, maintain same motivation for trip to Omaha, a 2023 season preview


Kate Zinke

Sophomore infielder Mikey Kane tips his helmet towards three of his teammates waiting for him at home plate during the third game of the series against Coppin State on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Goss Stadium. Kane had two hits on this three at bats during the game against the Eagles, bringing him to 10 hits on the season so far.

Ryan Harlan, Sports Writer

Last season, the Beavers missed out on an opportunity to advance to the College World Series, narrowly losing to Auburn in the NCAA Super Regional in Goss Stadium.  

The loss to the Tigers has been on the minds of the team since then and has been motivation to get back to Omaha according to sophomore shortstop Kyle Dernedde.  

“The end of the year last year has definitely been a big source of motivation for the guy that experienced it. We think about it all the time, but we either have a choice to dwell on it and feel sorry for ourselves or use it as motivation and learn how we can make that final step this year and get to Omaha,” said Dernedde. 

The biggest challenge for the team this season getting to Omaha is replacing a slew of important starters and contributors from the 2022 season. Those players include Jacob Melton, Cooper Hjerpe, Justin Boyd, Jacob Pfennigs, and Wade Meckler. 

“Those guys were a major part of our team and they are going to go on and do great things,” said Dernedde. “I would like to think that I have stepped up in a leadership role along with guys like Garrett Forrester and Travis Bazzana. On our team, everyone plays the role of a leader. We all have to hold each other accountable and do the right thing to succeed.” 

Even with the challenge of replacing those players, the goal for the team remains the same for the team despite having new faces on the team from both incoming freshman and transfers and that is making it to Omaha. 

“We have a lot of young talent and transfers along with a key group of core returners from last year. We lost a lot of guys last year, but we still have a lot of good energy surrounding our team. I think the expectations remain the same, we want to win, and we know we are good enough to win. We are learning to play with energy, and we are going to keep getting better moving forward as we learn to play with each other and continue to develop chemistry as a team,” Dernedde said.

There are plenty of opportunities for those new faces and returning players to be important contributors to the team for the 2023 season. One of those new players has already made an impact for Beaver Baseball and that is freshman outfielder Gavin Turley, who hit his third home run of the season against Coppin State. 

“We have a talented group of freshmen, they are athletic and talented baseball players. There are a handful of guys that are likely going to step up and have opportunities to make big differences for our team this year,” Dernedde said. “Gavin is a great player and has a great personality. He has fun playing baseball and has already had a major impact on our team. He has the potential to be very good and I’m excited to see what he does this season.” 

As with any season, there are unexpected injuries and losses before the start of the season and Beaver Baseball also loses two important returners before the start of the regular season in right-handed pitcher Brock Townsend and infielder Jabin Trosky. Outfielder Tyree Reid and right-handed pitcher Logan Miller are also out for the season due to injury. 

Trosky was expected to compete with both Dernedde and Travis Bazzana for playing time in the infield. However, before the season started Trosky suffered an undisclosed injury and will be out for the season.  

Townsend was suspended from the team before the season opener against the University of New Mexico Lobos and won’t play in a Beaver uniform this season. Before his suspension, Townsend, who was a key part of the pitching rotation last year as a starter, was in line for a spot in the pitching rotation this season with the departures of Hjerpe and Pfennigs. 

Right-handed pitcher Ben Ferrer is out for an undisclosed period due to Mononucleosis, once healthy he is expected to make a return to the lineup. Ferrer was expected to have a significant role in the pitching lineup this season as both a starter and reliever.

However, even with the Beavers down a few players on the pitching staff, there has been a decision made on the pitching lineup for the 2023 season by head coach Mitch Canham and that will be Trent Sellers, Jacob Kmatz, and Jaren Hunter handling pitching duties throughout the season.  

The Beavers opened the 2023 season down in Surprise, Arizona, and went 3-1 during the four-game series at the Sanderson Baseball Classic. The loss came from their opening game against New Mexico, as they suffered a 7-2 defeat to the Lobos which was just the second time in the last 14 years that Beaver Baseball had lost on opening day when they suffered an 8-1 loss to Vanderbilt in the 2008 season.  

However, the Beavers channeled the frustration from their opening-day loss as they rattled off three straight wins to close out their time in Surprise. One of those wins included an 8-7 win over the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, which came after the Beavers opening-day defeat to the Lobos. 

“The bounce-back win after losing the season opener for us was crucial. Throughout our time in Surprise, we got better and better. After our first game, we were disappointed that we did not play Beaver Baseball. After that game, we could have dwelled on that loss or show up the next day and compete the way we know how to. I would say that we accomplished that and then some,” Dernedde said about the importance of their win over Minnesota. 

The Beavers carried over the momentum into wins in a rematch against Lobos and the University of California Santa Barbra. Even as the Beavers have begun to find their chemistry in the early goings of the season, there are still plenty of games left to be played and things to improve on before the postseason. 

“We still have some growing to do and some things to clean up, but I am very excited for our team and what we can do. If we can continue to get better each day, we have the potential to do something special.” Dernedde said. “Our goal is to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season and make a run in Omaha with the intention to win the whole thing.” 

The Beavers will play 29 games at Goss Stadium for the 2023 baseball season starting with their opening series against Coppin State University. The Beavers begin PAC-12 Conference play against Washington State on March 10 at home in Goss Stadium and end conference play against the UCLA Bruins on the road starting May 12. 


Remaining Baseball Schedule:


March 2 Thursday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Calif. 6:00 p.m.

March 3 Friday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Calif. 6:00 p.m.

March 4 Saturday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Calif. 4:00 p.m.

March 5 Sunday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Calif. 11:00 a.m.

March 7 Tuesday San Diego Corvallis, Ore. 5:35 p.m.

March 10 Friday Washington State * Corvallis, Ore. 5:35 p.m.

March 11 Saturday Washington State * Corvallis, Ore. 1:35 p.m.

March 12 Sunday Washington State * Corvallis, Ore. 1:05 p.m.

March 14 Tuesday Nevada Corvallis, Ore. 5:35 p.m.

March 15 Wednesday Nevada Corvallis, Ore. 5:35 p.m.

March 17 Friday at Stanford * Stanford, Calif. PAC-12 Networks 7:00 p.m.

March 18 Saturday at Stanford * Stanford, Calif. PAC-12 Oregon 5:00 p.m.

March 19 Sunday at Stanford * Stanford, Calif. PAC-12 Bay Area 12:00 p.m.

March 21 Tuesday Portland Corvallis, Ore. 5:35 p.m.

March 24 Friday California * Corvallis, Ore. 5:35 p.m.

March 25 Saturday California * Corvallis, Ore. 1:35 p.m.

March 26 Sunday California * Corvallis, Ore. 12:05 p.m.

March 29 Wednesday at Seattle Seattle, Wash. 4:00 p.m.

March 31 Friday at Washington * Seattle, Wash. 6:05 p.m.

April 1 Saturday at Washington * Seattle, Wash. 2:05 p.m.

April 2 Sunday at Washington * Seattle, Wash. 1:05 p.m.


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