Let’s Play Ball: The Oregon State softball team will make its first road trip of Pac-12 Conference play this week, as it heads south to take on No. 7/9 Arizona in Tucson. The series will begin Saturday with a 3:30 p.m. first pitch, and will continue Sunday and Monday with games beginning at 5 p.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.
TV Debut: This weekend’s games will be the first televised games of the season for Oregon State, as all three contests in the series will be aired live on Pac-12 Networks. The games will be carried on all seven Pac-12 Networks stations, including Pac-12 National and Pac-12 Oregon.
Follow Along: You can find live updates for all Oregon State games this season on twitter @OregonStateSB. Live stats will also be available at osubeavers.com.
The Matchup: Arizona enters this week’s games ranked No. 7 in the NFCA/USA Today poll and ninth in the ESPN/USA Softball poll. The WIldcats lost their first three games in Pac-12 play, falling No. 1/2 UCLA to drop their overall record to 23-6. Arizona leads the conference with a .364 team batting average, 224 runs scored and 41 home runs. The Wildcat offense features eight players batting over .300, led by Kelsey Rodriguez at .462. Chelsea Goodacre sits atop the conference home run charts with 11. The Wildcats are paced in the cirlce by Estela Pinon, who has a 1.13 ERA with 58 strikeouts.
Last Year’s Series: Oregon State swept the Wildcats last season, winning all three games by the score of 2-1 to earn the first OSU sweep over Arizona in school history. The series was capped off by an eight-inning thriller, as the Elizabeth Santana scored the winning run on a play at the plate.
Shocking the Sun Devils: Oregon State came through with a big series win over No. 5/7 Arizona State this week, as the Beavers defeated the Sun Devils 3-2 on Friday, before closing out the series with a 3-1 victory on Sunday. It was the Beavers’ first series victory over the Sun Devils since 2010, and their first series win over a top-10 team since taking a pair from No. 9 Washington in 2012.
The Amanda Show: Amanda Najdek earned her first Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor this week, after shutting down a high-powered Arizona State offense to help the Beavers to a pair of wins and a series victory over the No. 5/7 Sun Devils. The senior threw complete games in both of her starts, holding ASU to just a single earned run in each outing. She opened the weekend by allowing just six hits and recording six strikeouts in the first game, a 3-2 victory for the Beavers. Najdek then came back with another gem on Sunday, allowing just one run on seven hits for a 3-1 win. Overall, she held a Sun Devil offense that entered the series averaging nearly seven runs per game to just three total runs over the course of her two starts.
Kori Comes Through: Kori Nishitomi came through with a big week for the Beavers, going 6-for-10 over the course of their three-game series to spark the Oregon State offense. Nishitomi got her weekend off to the best possible start on Friday, as she homered over the right-field fence in OSU’s first at-bat of the game. The long-ball was the first of Nishitomi’s Oregon State career. She then came back on Sunday with a 4-for-4 performance, which included two runs, an RBI, a triple and a stolen base. Nishitomi leads the Beavers with 10 multi-hit games this season, and is batting .390 with 20 runs and nine walks on the season.
Going, Going, Gonzalez: Freshman Alexis Gonzalez has made the cleanup spot her own in just her first season with the Beavers. The OSU designated player hit .333 in Oregon State’s series against Arizona State last week. Her two-RBI double helped carry the Beavers to victory in the series’ opening game.
Give Me Gilmore: Junior Dani Gilmore has opened the 2014 campaign on a tear, hitting .386 with five home runs, 21 runs and 17 RBIs. The West Hills, Calif., native played the majority of her first two seasons in the leadoff spot, but has transitioned into the third position this year. Gilmore is a career .318 hitter, and has proven to be a wizard on the base-paths as well, stealing a team-best 27 bases on just 30 attempts since 2012. Gilmore also led the Beavers with 36 walks last season, placing her 14th in the NCAA in walks per game with 0.82, and is on a similar pace this season with 15 walks already in the 2014 campaign.
More Gilmore: Gilmore is already making her way into the Oregon State career record books. She is currently sixth in Beaver history with a .318 batting average, and is third with 90 walks. After stealing her first base of the season last week, Gilmore is now tied for 10th on Oregon State’s steals list, with 27.
This is Aarhus: Freshman Amee Aarhushas made an immediate impact on the Beaver lineup since being inserted as a starter a few weeks ago. The Camas High School graduate is hitting .313 on the year, and leads the team with five stolen bases. Aarhus’ presence has provided more than just individual success for the freshman, as the Beavers are 8-4 in Aarhus’ 12 starts this season.
Triple Up: After Kori Nishitomi’s three-bagger on Sunday, the Beavers are now third in the NCAA with .44 triples per game this season. Oregon State has tallied a total of 11 triples this year, with Christie Langlois, Kylie Padilla, Dani Gilmore and CJ Chirichigno leading the way with two apiece. The Beaver are on pace to finish the campaign with just over 22 total triples, five short of the school record of 27, set back in 1984. Oregon State matched a school record with three triples against Penn State on Feb. 7. Chirichigno, Isabelle Batayola and Padilla each tallied a three-bagger to help the Beavers reach the mark for the fourth time in school history. Prior to this season, the last time Oregon State had three triples in a game was in 2010, when it faced Seattle U.
Going for 3: This year’s Oregon State recruiting class was ranked third in the nation by StudentSports.com, and includes four of the site’s top 40 recruits. Alysha Everett is Student Sports’ 23rd-ranked recruit, following an impressive display at PGF Nationals over the summer, as she hit .409 in bracket play. 27th-ranked Gina Bond is considered to be one of the top home-run hitters in the country, and has earned 6A Three Rivers first team honors three times. McKenna Arriola is StudentSports.com’s 33rd-rated recruit. She hit .541, with 33 runs, 23 RBIs and 12 steals at Camino Real High School last season, en-route to All-City honors. 40th-ranked Lovie Lopez batted .449 with five home runs as a junior for St. Paul High School last season. Pitcher Rainey Dyreson rounds out the class. She was named Great Basin (West) Conference Pitcher of the Year in her freshman and sophomore years, and has competed in the PGF Nationals.