OSU continues scorching start

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

The Beavers softball team went 6-0 this weekend in Henderson, Nev., including a walk-off win on Sunday. 

Last weekend, the Oregon State softball team was one win away from opening the season 5-0.

The Beavers didn’t fall short this time.

OSU followed a 4-1 performance in the Kajikawa Classic a week ago with a six-game sweep in the DeMarini Desert Classic this weekend in Henderson, Nev., improving to 10-1 on the year by beating Robert Morris, Hawaii, Wichita State, UC Davis, Boise State and San Jose State.

OSU’s two Sunday wins came by opposite methods: one extra inning thriller over BSU followed by a 12-2 walloping of SJSU.

OSU led BSU 3-0 in the fifth inning, but a grand slam gave the Broncos a 4-3 lead. OSU sophomore shortstop McKenna Arriola tied the game in the bottom of the fifth by scoring on a wild pitch moments after she doubled to right field. Freshman pitcher Meehra Nelson entered in the sixth inning and put the Broncos on lockdown the next three frames, allowing no hits, walks or runs while striking out six of the nine batters she faced.

The game headed to the eighth inning tied 4-4, and due to NCAA softball rules each team started the extra innings with a runner on second base. Freshman utility player Michelle Sass started on second to begin the bottom of the eighth, pinch running for junior first baseman Natalie Hampton. She moved to third after a ground ball and scored on a walk-off game-winning double by sophomore Alysha Everett.

Though OSU went 6-0 on the weekend, it wasn’t as stiff of competition as Pac-12 teams; the six schools OSU played were a combined 14-33 coming into the games, with Hawaii being the only team with a winning record at the time.

Still, OSU did have an 8-0 win over No. 18 Kentucky last weekend and earned one vote in the USA Today top-25 polls.

The Beavers were fueled this weekend by strong pitching, allowing just 13 runs in six games. Senior pitcher Bev Miller tossed a near-perfect game Friday, allowing just one hit, one walk and no earned runs in the 8-1 win over Robert Morris. Her start on Saturday was nearly as good, again allowing no earned runs as well as two hits and two walks to help OSU beat UC Davis, 11-2. In her three games this weekend, Miller struck out 18 batters in 17 innings.

Pitcher Meehra Nelson, fresh off receiving Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Honors in the first week of her career, is now 7-0 on the season with just a .162 batting average.

OSU’s torrid start, with 10 wins in 11 games, will help in the Beavers’ goal to make the postseason for the first time in three years. OSU’s 26-26 record last season fell just shy of earning a tournament berth. This year’s team will have to do more than just win nonconference games, though: the Beavers won 19 times last year before the Pac-12 schedule began but still didn’t get in.

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