Oregon State freshman lefty Cooper Hjerpe celebrates Sunday's win at Mississippi State (Aaron Fitt)


Young Beavers Bounce Back With Complete Team Win In Starkville


STARKVILLE, Miss. — Three times in the latter stages of Sunday’s 7-2 win at Mississippi State, an Oregon State defender did something special that ignited the Beaver dugout.

In the fifth inning, it was shortstop Andy Armstrong ranging to his left, making a sliding stop on the other side of second base, popping up and throwing a strike to first to get Landon Jordan. In the eighth, it was center fielder Micah McDowell sprinting into the right-center gap and laying out for a spectacular full-extension catch to rob Jordan Westburg of extra bases and end the inning. And in the ninth, it was third baseman Richie Mascarenas charging a slow bouncer, making a gorgeous barehanded scoop and rifling a strike across his body to nab Justin Foscue.

As the web gems piled up at the end of an error-free weekend, I was left with one clear impression: Now this is Beaver Baseball. During its decade-and-a-half run of excellence, Oregon State has always fed off its defensive prowess. Former Oregon head coach George Horton once called an Oregon State defense “suffocating,” and that was the perfect adjective for that time. The personnel has changed, the head coach has changed, but one thing has remained constant: Oregon State can still defend with the best of them.

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