Beavers turn it around on Utah

Oregon State University softball players cheer after teammate Madyson Clark hit a home run at Kelly Field on Friday April 26th.
Oregon State University softball players cheer after teammate Madyson Clark hit a home run at Kelly Field on Friday April 26th.
Fern Barber

Oregon State softball pulled off a 4-3 win against the Utah Utes at Kelly Field on Sunday afternoon, starting the three-day series for the final set of their nine home games.

The game started with a familiar sight, a strikeout from Beaver junior pitcher Sarah Haendiges. However, this was quickly followed by a double from Utah junior Kaylah Nelson, and then a ground single from sophomore Abby Dayton. 

Oregon State then loaded the bases with two outs left with a walk from grad student Julia Jimenez. Senior Sophie Jacquez drove two runners home on a line drive.

 Once again, the bases were loaded after a ground single from freshman Shonty Passi. The inning was finally ended by a grounder from redshirt freshman Taylor Jacobs that drove home one run but gave the final out with a tag at home on the next runner.

“They took a gut punch in that first part of the inning and we answered back,” said Beaver head coach Laura Berg.

The first Oregon State at bat also started with a strikeout but then re-energized by senior Madison Simons’ highflying triple, who was driven home by a ground single from junior Eliana Gottlieb. She and junior Lici Campbell were driven home by a first-pitch home run by sophomore Madyson Clark, giving the Beavers a 4-3 lead. The high-scoring inning ended with two pop-outs.

“Madyson Clark can change the game with one swing of the bat, and that was clear today,” said Berg.

The second inning was a much better defensive showing for the Beavers. Despite having two runners reach base no run was scored because of two pop-outs and one ground-out. However, no Beaver runner reached base in the second.

The field work only improved for the Beavers. Haendiges picked up two strikeouts in the third, accompanied by an impressive grab by Campbell on a grounder straight to first. They also nearly had a chance to extend their lead, but Utah senior pitcher Mariah Lopez ended the inning with a strikeout.

The fourth inning became the third inning in a row with no runs scored. Neither team could get any runners on base. This would continue through the fifth inning as well, with Lopez picking up two strikeouts to end it.

Kiki Escobar in the 6th became a grounder magnet with back-to-back ground balls fielded that she delivered swiftly to first. The drought of runners on base was finally ended by Campebll at Oregon State’s at-bat with a small pop-up to center field. 

“She just is clutch. I’m just thinking hit the ball to Kiki, hit the ball to Kiki. Because I know it’s an automatic out,” said  Berg.

Utah also used the inning to finally stop Clark from getting on base, after letting her do so successfully in her other two at-bats.

Oregon State and Utah started to sub in batters and runners at the end of the inning, which was once again scoreless.

Both pitchers in the game posted decent performances, Haendiges nabbed four strikeouts and a 3.57 ERA, while Lopez had seven with an ERA of 2.38. 

It was not necessary for the Beavers to take the final at-bat. With one last strikeout, a pop-out, and another ground out from Escobar, the Beavers won the defensive war to take home the first game of the series, improving to 19-25 overall in the Pac-12.

The Beavers look to continue the momentum to the next day while Utah looks to regroup when they face off once again at Kelly Field on Saturday, April 27 at 3 p.m.


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