OSU fans have a Saturday to remember
When it comes to Oregon State baseball, there are very few things that get past Central Point resident Marlene Murphy.
Dubbed a Beaver fanatic by those who know her best, the 88-year-old Murphy had no intentions of missing OSU’s second visit to Medford in as many years.
“I had my son-in-law get the tickets right away because I didn’t know how to do it,” said Murphy with a big grin.
There Murphy was, decked out in OSU gear from her head down to her orange and black socks, sitting a couple of rows up from the netting behind home plate to see her favorite team face Sacramento State on Saturday afternoon at Harry & David Field.
Oregon State captured the first game of the fall ball doubleheader 10-5 over Sacramento State, rallying from an early 4-0 deficit to give the Medford faithful plenty to cheer about.
The nightcap had a little bit of a different twist, with each inning beginning with a runner on first base and both teams playing most of their incoming players.
The sellout crowd of 1,918 at Harry & David certainly got their money’s worth.
“It’s great to see them in Medford,” said Murphy, who has been following the Beavers since the late 1950s after marrying an OSU alum.
“My husband and I were married in 1959 and he’s passed away now, but I’ve been a Beaver fan all of that time.”
“I would love to go up to Corvallis and I’ve said the only reason I would get re-married is if the man had a season ticket,” she continued with a laugh. “I really enjoy them so very much, and I’ve been watching the Baltimore Orioles because of (former OSU catcher) Adley Rutschman this year.”
You better believe that Murphy was part of the sellout crowd at last year’s doubleheader against the University of San Francisco, which sold out in less than an hour.
There was so much of a demand for this year’s twin bill that the host Medford Rogues’ website couldn’t handle the traffic, with around 900 tickets sold before the system crashed and needed another couple of hours to be rebooted.
With her ticket in hand, Murphy was one of the first people in the ballpark Saturday when the gates opened an hour before first pitch to take her seat up close to the action.
“I never miss a game, never miss a game,” said Murphy, adding that she was going to be up until midnight watching the OSU-Stanford football game that started at 8 p.m. “I’m just a fan. I really do enjoy watching them. Baseball is my very favorite sport. I’ll watch Oregon State in football and basketball, too, but baseball is my favorite.”
Murphy’s fandom is so strong that her grandson was able to work out a deal with OSU head coach Mitch Canham to give her a call on her birthday last year.
“I watched (Canham) play when he was on the team and they won the national title,” said Murphy.
Canham was one of the many associated with the OSU program happy to be back in the Rogue Valley after their initial experience 12 months ago.
Canham, who was a college roommate of Medford Rogues skipper Bill Rowe, was the one who first put the ball in motion last summer after coming to a game at Harry & David Field to see some of his OSU players.
The second visit was just as rewarding as the first one, Canham said.
“Everyone’s been excited to come down here,” said Canham, who led the Beavers to a 48-18 record last spring. “The guys, they love the bus trip, the amenities and the front office does a great job as well and the grounds crew takes care of everything. It’s just been a great experience.
“We get to play baseball and people are into it. I hear them heckling players, umpires, each other in the stands, you name it. There’s a good vibe going around and, as we talked about before the game, it was just a beautiful day.”
Both teams arrived in Medford on Friday night, with Oregon State holding a kids camp Saturday morning prior to the doubleheader.
Turning the Beavers’ trip to Medford into more than just a couple of games is an important part of the entire experience, Canham said.
“Not just baseball players, but our objective is to be champions in everything we do,” said Canham. “If we can come down here, why wouldn’t we want to pour into them for an hour and a half if we get the opportunity. It ain’t going to tucker us out, our guys are excited to play, so there’s no worry of it being a long day. We’ll recover tomorrow.”
It just so happened that it was a former Rogues player that sparked Oregon State’s comeback in Game 1.
Trailing 4-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth, 2021 Rogues outfielder Ruben Cedillo — who recently transferred to OSU from Linn-Benton Community College — hit a two-run home run to left field to cut Sac State’s lead in half.
An inning later, the Beavers took the lead for the first time. OSU second baseman and No. 9 hitter Jabin Trosky tied things up at 4-all with a two-run single to center field. The next batter, leadoff man Kyle Dernedde, put the Beavers in front with an RBI double down the left-field line.
Cedillo capped the four-run inning with an RBI single to left to make it 6-4.
“I missed it,” said Cedillo of coming back to Medford for the first time since the summer of 2021. “Honestly, it was a fun summer and a lot of good guys. We have a lot of good guys who were with the Rogues who play with me (at Oregon State). It’s fun to come back.”
“Everything’s going good and everyone’s hitting. It helps when the other hitters are able to attack and get their swings off.”
Micah McDowell added an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, while Brady Kasper and Tanner Smith each had run-scoring singles an inning later to put the game out of reach.
Trosky finished 4-for-5 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Cedillo was 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Oregon State outhit Sacramento State 14-11, with the Beavers holding the Hornets to just three hits over the final five innings.
“It’s good to have that kind of energy like that in the fall because we don’t usually get that,” said Cedillo. “The fans showed out and they were fun. It gives us crowd noise and people to watch. I think people play differently when the crowd is big, so it gets us ready early.”
Added Canham: “This experience helps our guys perform at a higher level and I think it’s necessary. We only get a few chances for these types of competitions in the fall and high-quality like Sac State meeting us up here, they put out competitors. It makes for a good environment.”
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.