Let’s Play Ball: The Oregon State softball will play its final Pac-12 home series of the season this week, as the Beavers host No. 11/11 Washington for a three-game set. The weekend will begin with a 4 p.m. start on Friday, and will continue with a games at 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
Coming to a Screen Near You: The games on Friday and Sunday will both be available on Pac-12 Networks. Game one of the series can be seen on all seven Pac-12 Networks, while game three will be aired on Pac-12 National, Pac-12 Oregon and Pac-12 Washington. Ann Schatz and Amanda Freed will have the call.
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.
Senior Day: The Oregon State softball team will say goodbye to four seniors Sunday, when it hosts Senior Day. Isabelle Batayola, Hannah Bouska, Amanda Najdek and Bailee Niehus will all be honored. Batayola, Bouska and Niehus have been part of two NCAA Regional teams, while Najdek has become in integral part of the Oregon State pitching staff this season, after transferring to OSU from Wisconsin last season.
Pink Game: Oregon State softball will support The Corvallis Clinic Foundation’s Project H.E.R. (Help. Enlightenment. Resources.) in its annual “Strike Out Cancer” games Friday and Saturday. Project H.E.R. is designed to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer. The Beavers will wear their re-beaved pink uniforms and fans are encouraged to “Pink Out” the Oregon State Softball Complex. The contests will also feature a raffle, as the Beavers give away last season’s pink jerseys.
The Matchup: Washington is 25-12 this season (5-8 Pac-12) and is ranked 11th in both polls The Huskies are led by Victoria Hayward, who is hitting .446 this season with 31 runs. Kylee Lahners is batting .345 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. Bryana Walker paces the Huskies in the circle, holding a 14-7 record with a 1.68 ERA and 122 strikeouts.
Series History: Oregon State is 18-52 all-time against Washington. The last time the Beavers hosted the Huskies, Oregon State came away with a series victory, taking 2-of-3 from then-No. 9 Washington.
Give Me Gilmore: Junior Dani Gilmore has continued her fantastic collegiate career this season, hitting .402 with seven home runs, 28 runs and 26 RBIs. She is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak, the longest by any Beaver this year and tied for the longest in her career. 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 .329 hitter, and has proven to be a wizard on the base-paths as well, stealing a team-best 28 bases on just 31 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 leads the team again this season with 17 walks in the 2014 campaign. Gilmore also does not shy away from pressure, as she is hitting .514 this season with runners in scoring position.
More Gilmore: Gilmore is already making her way into the Oregon State career record books. She is currently tied for fifth in Beaver history with a .329 batting average, and is third with 92 walks. Her 114 runs are good for fifth in the Oregon State record book, while she is tied for ninth all-time with 28 steals and is tied with Lea Cavestany for 9th with 24 career home runs. With a .705 slugging percentage through the first 39 games of the season, Gilmore is also on pace to finish the year second on Oregon State’s single season list for slugging percentage.
Kori Comes Through: Kori Nishitomi has proven she can compete at the Pac-12 level, after transferring from Longwood in the summer. Nishitomi is batting .392 through 16 games of conference play, and leads the team with 10 runs scored. She continued her hot streak against UCLA, going 4-for-10 with three runs in the series. Overall, Nishitomi is batting .377 on the year, leads the team with 46 hits and is tops on the squad with seven steals. Her season has been highlighted by a 4-for-4 performance against Arizona State on March 16, which included a triple. Nishitomi has also shown a penchant for teeing off against some of the nation’s best pitchers, as her two home runs this season have come against Arizona State’s Dallas Escobedo and Oregon’s Cheridan Hawkins.
Triple Up: After hitting a pair of three-baggers in its series against Utah, Oregon State is sixth in the NCAA with .33 triples per game this season. Oregon State has tallied a total of 13 triples this year, with Kylie Padilla leading the way with three, good for 56th in the nation. Christie Langlois, Dani Gilmore and CJ Chirichigno have two triples apiece. 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.
Cheer on Chirichigno: Junior transfer CJ Chirichigno hit the first grand slam of her collegiate career in Sunday’s contest against UCLA, knocking one over the left-field fence in the first inning. The blast was the first grand slam by a Beaver since Natalie Hampton hit one against Northwestern on Feb. 9, 2013. After failing to hit a home run in her first 31 games with the Beavers, Chirichigno now has three home runs in her last eight games, including a frozen rope over the 235-foot fence in dead-center at Utah. Chirichigno is tied for the team lead with 10 RBIs in conference play.
Bailee Out: Senior Bailee Niehus hit the first home run of her career in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game against UCLA. The McMinnville, Ore., native’s blast brought the Beavers within striking distance, as they attempted to make a late comeback. Niehus has made 49 appearances in her career, including six starts. Her homer was the first pinch-hit home run by a Beaver since Katelyn Miller hit one on Mach 25, 2009 against Seattle U.
Ya Ya Ya: Junior infielder Ya Garcia had a strong showing at the plate last weekend, going 5-for-10 against UCLA, and making some nice plays in the field. Garcia has started all 156 games Oregon State has played since entering the program as a freshman in 2012, hitting .251 with 58 runs. After putting up five hits at UCLA, Garcia is now just four hits away from joining Dani Gilmore and Hannah Bouska as the only active Oregon State players to reach 100 career hits. Garcia also made a splash at the Kajikawa Classic, when she launched her first career home run over the centerfield fence against San Diego State.
Bouska Reaches a Century: Senior Hannah Bouska reached the 100 hit milestone in style against Utah. The Keizer, Ore., native got to the century mark by hitting an opposite-field home run in the largest park in the conference. The blast was Bouska’s first since she homered on April 12, 2013, also against Utah.
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.