Beaver Softball secures series win over the Utes in Game 2

OMN+Sports

OMN Sports

Ryan Harlan, Sports Contributor

With bases loaded and two outs left in top of the seventh inning, the stage was set for Oregon State freshman pitcher Sarah Haendiges needing one more out to secure the win for the Beavers and prevent the Utes from forcing a late comeback win.

Facing the final batter, Haendiges stepped into circle, winds up, throws, and her pitch is lined out into right field to secure the final out of the game, ending the Utes chances for a comeback victory.

The Beavers kept their postseason hopes alive as Oregon State Softball secures a 3-1 victory this Friday over the University of Utah Utes to take Game 2. They also secure a series win over the Utes after winning two consecutive games in the three-game series matchup at Kelly Field.

The Beavers struck first in the bottom of the first inning with Oregon State senior pitcher Mariah Mazon launching a two-run home run deep into left field to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead over the Utes. After Mazon’s home run, Oregon State junior infielder Frankie Hammoude stepped up to the plate and was walked to first base by Utah senior pitcher Sydney Sandez.

Hammoude was advanced to third on a single to right field from freshman infielder Kayla Nelsen. On a sacrifice fly from Oregon State sophomore infielder Grace Messmer, Hammoude scored to give the Beavers a 3-0 lead, which would be the only runs scored by the Beavers during the game.

The Utes down 3-0 to the Beavers made a pitching change in the bottom of the second inning bringing in graduate-student pitcher Shi Smith to try and cool the bats of Oregon State. Smith did just that only allowed three hits and five strikeouts, she also stranded three runners on base while in the circle.

The Utes couldn’t get much going on the offensive side of the ball through most of the game as they had multiple runners stranded on base in scoring position throughout the game. Pitching and defense from the Beavers helped keep the Utes scoreless through five innings after giving up seven runs, eight hits, and three errors in yesterday’s matchup.

Oregon State Head Softball Coach Laura Berg mentioned that the team looked better in this outing versus the Utes than last night’s game.

“They did a great job in slowing the game down, you know Utah is very good at speeding the game up on you and making errors”, Berg said. “For example, yesterday, we had three errors yesterday. We just got to play clean softball, we got to slow the game down, so that doesn’t happen and cause errors.”

The Beavers did just that committing only one error during the game, but Berg sees room for improvement in minimizing errors on defense noting that, “Teams in the PAC-12 if you give them extra outs, they’re going to take advantage of it and that’s the key you can’t give them free bases or give them extra outs.”

“When there’s an error it kind of changes the momentum, so as a team we try to stop that, come back to the next play and kind of just flush it. So, I think we did a lot better today of that for sure.” Mazon added.

It took a while before the Utes found offensive momentum and in the top of the sixth inning the Utes found it with a one-run home run from freshman catcher Kendall Lundberg helping them avoid the shutout that Mazon had pitched against the Utes batting lineup through 5 innings.

Lundberg’s homerun cut the lead to 3-1 headed into the bottom of the sixth inning. The Beavers looked to add insurance to their two-run lead, but Smith made quick work of the batting lineup as she forced two groundouts and a strikeout to retire the side.

The Utes would then load the bases in hopes of a late-comeback victory in the top of the 7th inning but the pitching duo of Mazon and Haendiges would strand the Utah runners on base, preserving the 3-1 lead held by the Beavers.

Mazon took the win for the Beavers, pitching 6.2 innings and only giving up 8 hits and one run, her record improves to (14-9). Mazon also had six strikeouts on the day and had a two-run home run in the bottom of the 1st inning, which is her ninth homerun on the year. Haendiges relieved Mazon in the 7th inning pitching 0.1 innings and only faced one batter in the circle.

“I was just doing my thing, after facing them yesterday those six innings I knew that I need to like, be more specific with my pitches with the movement and placement and stuff. So, I was just trying to do that and keep them off balance a bit,”Mazon said of her adjustments pitching in today’s game.

“Mariah did a good job of getting ahead of the hitters and you know getting them to roll over, and just hit little popups. I thought she did a great job of attacking them,” Berg said of Mazon’s performance. “She had six strikeouts and twelve strikeouts yesterday, you know when you’re facing a team and they have five to six at bats off you in just two games, I thought it was a gutsy performance on Mariah’s part, I thought she did a phenomenal job.”

For the Utes, Sandez took the loss for the Utes only pitched 1.0 inning after pitching 7.1 innings yesterday, her record is now (8-11). Sandez gave up four hits and three runs in the first inning. Smith came on in relief of Sandez pitching the remaining 5.0 innings.

The Beavers extend their winning streak to two games and try to go for the series sweep tomorrow with Game 3 against the Utes scheduled for 12 p.m. at Kelly Field.