OSU splits the weekend

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

The Beavers softball team goes 2-2-1 in California against top competition

The No. 22 Oregon State softball team bounced back Sunday with a pair of strong performances after losing a pair of contests to nationally ranked teams earlier on the weekend in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.

The Beavers opened with a 3-0 loss to No. 22 Baylor on Friday and a 9-3 defeat to No. 3 Michigan the next day, but also beat Wisconsin 3-1 on Saturday. On Sunday, OSU took a comeback 5-2 win over North Carolina before a potential win over No. 21 Fresno State was negated by time constraints.

The FSU game was scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m., but weather delays forced it back about 90 minutes. The “drop dead” time was 3 p.m., meaning the game would end no matter what at that point. OSU gave up a tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning to allow an extra eighth frame, which the Beavers opened by scoring three runs. A 9-6 lead likely would have been sufficient for the Beavers, but the time reached 3 p.m. in the top of the eighth inning, and since Fresno State did not have an opportunity to respond on offense, the game was officially ruled a tie.

OSU is now 16-4-1 on the year with one weekend tournament remaining before the Pac-12 schedule starts on March 19 at Utah. This upcoming weekend, OSU travels back south again to Northridge, Calif. for the Matador Classic.

The two OSU wins this weekend over Wisconsin and North Carolina were fueled by stringent pitching and home runs. Sophomore Lovie Lopez’s two-run homer versus Wisconsin was the difference in the 3-1 win, and a three-run home run by junior Natalie Hampton gave OSU its lead against the Tar Heels in the 5-2 victory.

In the circle, freshman Meehra Nelson was coming off her Pac-12 Player of the Week honors and tossed a complete-game four-hitter versus Wisconsin with one run allowed and seven strikeouts.

Nelson got the save in the North Carolina game while senior pitcher Beverly Miller notched the win, allowing one earned run in 5 1/3 innings. Miller is now 6-2 on the year and Nelson is 10-2.

Hampton came into the weekend second in the nation with 29 runs batted in, but her only RBIs in the five games came on the home run versus North Carolina. Still, her 32 RBIs put her easily on pace to smash her OSU single-season record with 50 RBIs in one year.

Sophomore shortstop McKenna Arriola still leads the team with a .467 batting average.

The Beavers start the Pac-12 schedule in Salt Lake City against Utah on March 19, followed by the first home games of the year on March 24-26 against California. The conference gauntlet will be as tough as ever, with eight of the nine teams in the Pac-12 entering this weekend ranked or receiving votes in the top-25 poll.

On Twitter @BrightTies

Was this article helpful?