By Steve Parkhurst
June 5, 2021
FORT WORTH, TX — Elimination day arrived in Ft. Worth on Saturday in the loser’s bracket of the NCAA TCU Regional as the McNeese State Cowboys faced the Oregon State Beavers.
Cooper Hjerpe got the starting nod for Oregon while he was matched against Will Dion for McNeese State.
A run-scoring single by Julian Gonzales in the second and another by Nate Fisbeck in the third put McNeese in front 2–0.
Dion, did not allow a hit through the first three innings. Oregon State got to Dion for five runs in the fourth, keyed by a bases clearing double to left-center by Kyle Dernedde and Oregon State led 5–2.
Dion bounced back from the rough fourth by striking out the side in the fifth.
Hjerpe pitched the Beavers into the fifth inning, exiting with two runners on and one out. A bases loaded one-out single to center by Jake Dickerson plated to two runs to cut the Oregon State lead to 5–4.
Dion struck out two more Beavers batters in the sixth, including the lead off hitter for his fourth consecutive strike out. He followed that with a scoreless seventh as well.
McNeese tied the game at five in the seventh on a single to right by Dickerson (2-for-3) that scored Fisbeck from second base.
The Cowboys went to the bullpen to start the eighth. A four-pitch walk was followed by a single to center. Some carelessness with the baseball on an attempted back-pick at third base off of the relay allowed the runner to score when the baseball trickled into foul territory behind third base. A single by Ryan Ober put Oregon State back in front 7–5 with no outs and McNeese went to the bullpen again.
With the bases loaded for him again, Dernedde (2-for-3) pounded a ball into left field for his second bases clearing double of the game and the Beavers led 10–5.
Jake Mulholland handled the ninth for Oregon State and he faced just three batters to keep the Beavers season alive as they will play again Sunday. Meanwhile, the 10–5 loss ended a tough season for McNeese State who finished 2021 with a record of 32–30.
After the game, Dernedde was asked about his six RBI game and if this was the first t8me he had ever driven in six runs in a game, “I think so, it feels good.” Dernedde has not been a regular in the Beavers lineup this year and he addressed the mentality of waiting for a chance, “I’ve been ready all year and been working hard.” “Stay calm and stay poised and collected and be ready,” Dernedde said.
Oregon State head coach Mitch Canham talked after Saturday’s win about his team’s motivation, “I think it’s motivation when, losing the first game, your bags are packed and your job is to prevent anyone from forcing you to get on that plane.” Canham continued, “I think this is what makes character in these guys even stronger. I think this is something that is a huge part of life.”
Canham and his squad will know later today who they are facing Sunday, it will be the loser of tonight’s game between TCU and Dallas Baptist.