Back to the Pac

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

After losing all three games this weekend to No. 6 Oregon at home, the Oregon State softball team needed a bounce back win as soon as possible.

They got exactly what they needed on Tuesday, beating Portland State 9-1 in the last game of the season against a nonconference team.

Now, the Beavers turn back to the Pac-12 schedule, which includes four more weekends of the regular season with all four opponents ranked in the Top 25.

First, OSU will travel to Los Angeles to face No. 13 UCLA starting with a 7 p.m. matchup Friday, a 6 p.m. Saturday game and the finale on Sunday at noon. Each weekend after this one will be just as difficult; No. 9 Washington is next up on the schedule in Corvallis, then No. 17 Arizona in Tucson and capped off by the regular season finale at the OSU Softball Complex versus No. 22 Arizona State.

No matter what, OSU has already benefitted from the PSU win on Tuesday, which locked up the Beavers’ (25-12-1) first winning season since 2013. That was also the last year that OSU earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Freshman pitcher Meehra Nelson allowed just one run and three hits Tuesday to the Vikings in a complete game outing, which was shortened to five innings by the eight-run mercy rule. Nelson also had six strikeouts in the game, while seven different players recorded a hit.

The Beavers broke the game open in the second inning with a two-out rally after getting down 1-0 in the top of the first frame. OSU had two outs with one runner on, but OSU drew four walks in the inning and ended up scoring six runs. Junior third baseman Madison Anthony contributed a run-scoring single and senior second baseman Mikela Manewa cleared the bases with a double, scoring three more runs. Freshman outfielder Shelby Weeks went 2-for-2 on the day with a run batted in and junior first baseman Natalie Hampton also had two hits and an RBI.

Since the mercy rule ended the game after five innings and OSU didn’t even need to bat in the bottom of the fifth, OSU scored all nine runs in just four innings and went 9-for-22 at the plate overall.

UCLA will offer more stringent competition this weekend, though. The Bruins are coming off a sweep of Stanford and a series win over Oregon before that. The Beavers also swept Stanford earlier this season but were outscored by Oregon this weekend 19-4.

Record-Setting Statistics

Every year since head coach Laura Berg took over at OSU in 2013, the Beavers have broken the program record in batting average. It started at .280 in 2013, followed by .287 the next season and then .298 last year. This season, OSU is on pace to break it once more, currently batting .329 as a team.

OSU is on track to record 278 runs batted in (the record is 269), 451 hits (record is 487), 305 runs (record is 301). On the pitching side, OSU isn’t on a record setting pace in the earned run average category, currently at 2.85 with the record sitting at at 0.38 back in 1984, but this year’s mark is a significant improvement from last year’s 4.94.

Individually, Hampton currently owns 46 RBIs on the year after adding one on Tuesday with an RBI triple in the third inning. The OSU single-season record is 50, set in 2013 by Hampton herself.

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