The New Mexico State Aggies pushed the Beavers to the brink in their first game of the Corvallis Regional, but Oregon State managed to put down the upset bid in extra innings. The Beavers pulled off a 5-4 win, despite some sloppy play that almost erased an amazing start from OSU ace Cooper Hjerpe.
Hjerpe set the tone for the game by striking out the NMSU side in the top of the first. In the bottom of the inning, Oregon State grabbed the first run of the game when a grounder from Jacob Melton scored Wade Meckler.
The Beavers didn’t lead for long. After Hjerpe hit the Aggies’ Kevin Jimenez with a pitch, Jimenez moved to third on an odd infield grounder that looked foul but curved back into fair territory. A single from Tommy Tabak scored Jimenez and tied the game.
Both teams were scoreless for the next few innings, with Hjerpe and and NMSU’s Ian Mejia each putting on a clinic. Oregon State broke the stalemate in the bottom of the fifth, when Justin Boyd led off with a double and was then scored by a Garret Forrester single.
The Aggies answered in the top of the seventh, scoring two runs with a Tabak double to take their first lead of the game, 3-2. That ended Hjerpe’s day, who would not get a win despite striking out 10 Aggies over 6.2 innings pitched. Hjerpe allowed 2 hits and 3 earned runs.
The Beavers weren’t down long. In the bottom of the seventh Justin Boyd reached base on balls, and then a pair of singles from Wade Meckler and Garret Forrester got him home to tie the game 3-3. A wild pitch advanced the runners, and then a second wild pitch gave Meckler just enough time to reach home plate and give OSU the lead back, 4-3.
Hjerpe strikes out the next batter and leaves the game. Finishes the night with 10 Ks. Ferrer in. Ferrer manages to end the inning to keep the Aggie lead to 1. After a Dernedde strikeout, Boyd walks, Meckler singles and then Forrester singles to tie the game 3-3. A pair of wild pitches advance the runners and scored Meckler, giving OSU a 4-3 lead.
Ben Ferrer came to the mound after Hjerpe to finish out the game, and he held the Aggies scoreless until the top of the ninth. A pair of singles, to Nolan Funke and Preston Godfrey, gave New Mexico State a run, send the game into the bottom of the ninth tied 4-4. Oregon State went three up, three down, sending the game into extra innings.
Ryan Brown took over for Ferrer, and struck out the first batter of the 10th inning. A throwing error from Kyle Dernedde gave the Aggies a runner, and a ground ball put that runner in scoring position with two outs. A timely strikeout from Brown ended the inning, giving Oregon State a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 10th.
A foul out from Gavin Logan opened the inning, but Travis Bazzana was walked to give the Beavers a runner. Bazzana stole second, and then the Aggies intentionally walked Jake Dukart. Matthew Gretler popped up for OSU’s second out, before Jabin Trosky was walked to load the bases for Justin Boyd. Boyd then drew a four pitch walk from NMSU’s Alex Bustamente for the winning run.
The Beavers will take on the San Diego Toreros tomorrow, while the Aggies will face Vanderbilt. San Diego beat the Commodores 3-2 in today’s first game, and should be a big challenge for Oregon State, especially if they can’t clean up the mistakes they made tonight.