Softball goes 1-2 against Washington in Dam cancer series

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

OSU Softball team nets one Top-10 win in final series before bye week

Oregon State and Washington’s three-game series at the OSU Softball Complex this weekend proved to be an evenly matched affair in multiple categories.

Washington narrowly edged OSU in hits, 24-19, while OSU’s pitching staff notched 22 strikeouts to Washington’s 17.

In the end, the No. 10 Huskies won the most important category by taking the first and third games of the series, but the Beavers won a 3-2 decision on Saturday for its first Top-10 victory of the season and its fourth win over a ranked opponent.

The Beavers are now 27-15-1 on the year with two series left, guaranteeing at least a 56.3 percent winning rate on the year and almost certainly a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

In the Washington series, sophomore left fielder Lovie Lopez led the offense by going 5-for-10 including a 3-for-4 effort on Friday. Washington stole a 10-inning win on Friday, 3-2, holding OSU scoreless in extra innings even while OSU got a pair of runners on base with no outs in the ninth inning. Washington’s shortstop Ali Aguilar had her second and third home runs of the series on Sunday en route to the 7-2 win.

The Beavers earned Saturday’s win via a pair of solo home runs from freshman third baseman Madison Anthony and freshman right fielder Shelby Weeks to earn the win.

“Obviously, that big win the second day was big for us,” said head coach Laura Berg.

Though OSU lost the series, getting one win was significant for OSU especially considering Washington is ranked No. 10 in the nation.

“I think the team did really good against Washington,” Lopez said. “I mean, they’re ranked No. 10. They’re a tough team, they have tough pitching and I think we performed well. This game was tough but I think we held our own against them.”

“I hope these guys understand that and take confidence in this,” coach Berg said. “We can play with teams like this.”

In Sunday’s game, Washington’s torrid hitting was too much to handle for OSU’s pitching staff. Senior Beverly Miller allowed three earned runs and freshman Meehra Nelson gave up four, while the Huskies racked up 13 hits.

OSU fought back in the fifth inning, posting two runs on a home run off Lopez’s bat.

“I just went up to bat just trying to square the ball up, honestly,” Lopez said of the home run. “I fouled the third pitch off and I was a little late. I was telling myself, ‘Get the barrel where it needs to be and it’ll go.’ It’s funny how this game works. It’s a game of centimeters, not inches.”

Washington pitcher Taran Alvelo earned the win in Friday and Sunday’s games, tossing complete games in each and totaling 305 pitches. For OSU, Nelson earned her Pac-12-leading fifth save of the season on Saturday while Miller earned her 11th win in a six-inning, two-run outing.

Defensively, OSU committed just two errors across the three games.

With two series left, OSU is in good position to make the postseason for the first time in three seasons. The Beavers will play a road series against Arizona two weekends from now and the final home games of the regular season against Arizona State the next weekend to improve their stock.

“Postseason is always where we want to be at,” Lopez said. “These next couple of series are going to be tough, but if we go out, play with our hearts and give everything we got, I think we’ll be fine.”

This weekend, OSU is able to take a week off, its first weekend without any games since the beginning of the season in early February.

“I think it’s going to be nice,” coach Berg said of the break. “It’s going to let us slow things down a little bit, get back to the basics, do a little one-on-one time with the kids and let them rest and recover.”

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