Beavers Shock 11th Ranked Tennessee, Advance to Super Regionals

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OMN Sports

Ben Pahl, Sports Contributor

At the start of the day, it certainly looked like an uphill battle for the visiting Beavers  They would need to beat the regional hosts twice in order to keep their season alive.

The Beavers did just that.   The Oregon State softball team is headed to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2006.

After defeating the Volunteers 8-3 earlier in the day, Oregon State was locked in a defensive dogfight for most of the deciding game 7.

With no score heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Beavers finally broke through.  Two at-bats after a lead off single from Oregon State freshman infielder Kiki Escobar, Oregon State senior pitcher Mariah Mazon stepped up to the plate.

After getting ahead in the count 2-1, Mazon launched her third home run of the Knoxville regional over the left field wall, putting the Beavers up 2-0.  Later in the inning, Oregon State sophomore infielder Grace Messmer hit a two-out single, scoring Oregon State freshman outfielder Kristalyn Romulo, extending the Beaver lead to three.

For Tennessee’s final chance in the top of the seventh, head coach Laura Berg brought in star  Mazon to close out the game.  After giving up a two-out home run, Mazon responded by getting Tennessee sophomore Rylie West to pop up to right field for the final out.

One of the most crucial moments of the game came in Tennessee’s half of the sixth inning.  With two outs and nobody on base, sophomore Zaida Puni tripled to deep center field on a ball that was inches from getting out of the stadium.  In the following at-bat, Oregon State freshman pitcher Sarah Haendiges got Tennessee freshman McKenna Gibson to fly out to left, ending the Vols’ threat.

In a hostile atmosphere for a deciding game seven, Haendiges was outstanding in the circle for the Beavers.  Haendiges pitched six innings, didn’t allow a run and surrendered just two hits.  Haendiges improved to 12-6 on the season with the win, and Mariah Mazon got the save.

Offensively for the Beavers, Oregon State freshman outfielder Kiki Escobar went two for three and scored a run. Mazon went one for three with a two-run homer, and Oregon State junior infielder Frankie Hammoude, who leads the team in home runs, was intentionally walked twice.

After winning the Knoxville regional, the Beavers will advance to play the Stanford Cardinal in the Super Regionals, in what will be an inter-conference affair.  The series will begin on May 26, and Stanford will be hosting.