CORVALLIS, Ore.– After the 2012 season, Matt Boyd could have left Oregon State for the pros.
“Being a junior, sometimes you think you’re going to be done. You’re going to go sign,” said Boyd.
“To be honest I didn’t think we had any shot of getting him back,” said OSU catcher Jake Rodriguez.
He was drafted in the 13th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Cincinnati Reds, just days after Oregon State’s season came to an end.
“It came to a halting, screeching stop,” said Boyd, “we honestly thought we were going to win it all. [The loss to LSU] left a bad taste in all of our mouths, collectively.
For Boyd, the best way to wash out that taste was to say “no” to professional baseball and return to Corvallis for his senior season.
“Playing major league baseball has always been a dream of mine, ever since I was a little boy. You put yourself in those situations in the backyard playing whiffleball, and when the opportunity presented itself, it was ‘Wow! the dream is here.’ But another dream of mine was to win a National Title.”
So Boyd came back to the Beavers, but instead of reprising his role in the bullpen, he transitioned to the starting rotation.
“I really worked on my endurance and keeping my strength levels, and being able to hold my velocity, and build up my arm strength so I could [start],” said Boyd.
And the lefty isn’t just starting, he’s excelling. He’s 7-1 with a 1.55 earned run average, and has twice been named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week.
“I thought he’d be good, but those numbers are pretty impressive for anybody,” said OSU head coach Pat Casey, “I’m just happy for him because I think it’s tough when you come back; you’re going from a reliever to a starter; you’re supposed to be this guy, and you got to live up to it, and he’s certainly done that.”
This weekend, Boyd will lead the Beavers up to Seattle to take on his hometown Huskies.
“My dad was a Husky, my mom was a Husky. I just have a lot of memories there,” said Boyd, “Opened a lot of great seasons, and shared a lot of memories with my dad just watching baseball. It’s going to be cool playing in front of a lot of family and friends this weekend.”
The mindset for Oregon State is ‘one pitch at a time,’ but the dream season that Boyd came back for only ends in one place: Omaha, Neb.
“We want to be that team dogpiling, and we picture ourselves doing that at TD Ameritrade Park,” said Boyd, “I want to do it with these guys. These are my boys, my bestfriends. This is the closest knit team I’ve ever played on. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Oregon State head coach Pat Casey:
Oregon State catcher Jake Rodriguez:
Oregon State reliever Tony Bryant:
Oregon State reliever Max Engelbrekt:
Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto: