Oregon State, Cooper Hjerpe shut down Auburn to force winner-take-all Game 3
What a curtain call it was for Cooper Hjerpe.
The Oregon State ace battled illness all night—an illness that kept him off the mound in a Game 1 loss at the Corvallis Super Regional—but helped the third-seeded Beavers fend off elimination and beat No. 14-seed Auburn Sunday to force a winner-take-all Game 3, 4-3.
Hjerpe set the Oregon State single-season strikeout record by fanning six, sending his season total to 161. His fifth strikeout of the night came in the fourth versus Auburn’s Kason Howell, and he ended his final game in front of the Corvallis crowd with 275 strikeouts for his career—fifth-most in Oregon State program history.
Cooper Hjerpe with a standing ovation as he walks off the mound for his final start at Goss Stadium. Legend pic.twitter.com/HPQ2L7Wgxd
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Hjerpe (11-3) picked up the win after five innings and two-thirds of work, giving up three runs on three hits. Ben Ferrer took the Beavers the rest of the way, striking out three to pick up his third save of the season.
On the offensive side of things, Jake Dukart’s sixth-inning run-scoring single proved to be the game-winner for the Beavers
Dukart drove the first pitch he saw from Auburn reliever Chase Allsup into the gap in left-center, enabling Travis Bazzana to score from third. Bazzana had walked, stolen second, and moved to third on a throwing error. That run put OSU up 4-2, and, after Auburn scored once in the bottom half of the frame, the Beavers blanked the Tigers over the game’s final three innings.
OSU (48-17 overall) opened the game’s scoring with solo home runs by Jacob Melton and Bazzana in the fourth. Auburn scored two in the inning to tie the game, but the Beavers went ahead for good in the fifth. Justin Boyd reached on a bunt single and watched as Matthew Gretler came home to score on an errant throw to first.
Melton’s home run gave him 17 on the year, tying with Adley Rutschman (2019) for the third-most in a single season in program history. Boyd also extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a three-hit showing.
The Beavers will meet the Tigers one more time in Super Regional action, a Game 3 with a spot in the College World Series awaiting the winner. The game will start at 4:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.