LUBBOCK, Texas – The list of All-American pitchers who have graced the mound at Goss Stadium for Oregon State is a who’s-who of some of the best the game of college baseball has ever seen.
Buck. Gunderson. Heimlich. Nickerson. Fehmel. Mulholland. Eisert. Thompson.
Soon, there will be one more, and he may end up being the best of them all. Throughout the 2022 season, the one constant for the Beavers has been the production of sophomore left-hander Cooper Hjerpe. The kid with the funny name and the funky delivery is one of the big reasons why Oregon State was a Top 5 team for most of the regular season.
He’s also established himself as the head of the class of 2022 hurlers, which has seen some tremendous seasons by collegiate pitchers from all over the country. But the job that Hjerpe has done for the Beavers stands out and is the reason why he is the 2022 winner of the National Pitcher of the Year Award presented by the College Baseball Foundation.
“Cooper is the consummate example of a power pitcher who has the ability to pound fastballs and supplement that with a hammer slider,” said Chris Snead, co-chair of the Pitcher of the Year Award. “He was the horse of a very good OSU staff and a big reason for their success. We are excited to name him the National Pitcher of the Year.”
The award will be presented later this year by the College Baseball Foundation. Hjerpe becomes the second pitcher from Oregon State to win the award, joining 2018 winner Luke Heimlich, whose school record of 159 strikeouts Hjerpe eclipsed earlier this year. Oregon State also becomes the only school to have two winners of the award.
Possessing an outstanding fastball and a devastating slider that comes from a side-armed delivery, Hjerpe mowed through the rest of the Pac-12 in leading the Beavers to a second-place finish in the conference and the No. 3 overall national seed in the NCAA tournament.
In 18 appearances, including 17 starts, he compiled an 11-2 record and 2.53 ERA with one save. In 103.1 innings, he allowed just 67 hits and 31 runs, 29 earned, while walking just 23 and striking out 161 opposing batters. Teams hit just .180 off the 6-foot-3, 200-pound native of Capay, Calif. In 10 of his 15 regular-season appearances, he allowed two earned runs or fewer 10 times.
A preseason All-American by Baseball America and Perfect Game, Hjerpe was a two-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week and a two-time Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week. He was named to the All-Pac-12 first team as well as a Collegiate Baseball first-team All-American and a finalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy.
That puts him in good company with all the other legendary Beaver hurlers.
“As the season wore on, Cooper Hjerpe’s name kept coming up for one great performance after another,” said Brian Melakian, co-chair of the Pitcher of the Year Award. “The way that he came out of the bullpen to close out their regional final against Vanderbilt and the gutty performance he gave while sick against Auburn in the Super Regional just confirmed what we already knew. Cooper Hjerpe deserved to be recognized as the National Pitcher of the Year.”
For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.