No. 23 Softball Heads to Fresno for Bayer CropScience Classic
March 7, 2013
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The No. 23 Oregon State softball team has logged plenty of miles in the past month of travel to invitationals, but the Beavers have also registered plenty of victories in the process. With a 17-4 record heading into the Bayer CropScience Classic this weekend in Fresno, Calif., the Beavers are coming into their game with St. Mary’s tomorrow on an offensive hot streak.
The Beavers outscored their opponents, 36-13, in the five games in Fullerton, invoking the mercy rule in three of their four wins. OSU hit .381 as a team over the weekend, pounding out 51 hits and hitting seven home runs.
Eight of those 51 hits came from sophomore Dani Gilmore and senior Elizabeth Santana against Cal Poly on Saturday. Each went 4-for-4 as they both tied the school record for hits in a game. It’s also the first time that Oregon State teammates each had four hits in the same game. Gilmore hit .571 (8-for-14) and walked six times to push her on-base percentage to .700 out of the leadoff position. Santana batted .389 (7-for-18) with six RBIs. She drove in the game-winning run in the Beavers’ 2-1, extra-inning win over Indiana.
Along with Gilmore and Santana, four other Beavers hit .357 or better, including Natalie Hampton (.500), Desiree Beltran (.429), Ashley Sanchez (.412) and Ally Kutz (.357). The Beavers are hitting .322 as a team this season, good for fourth in the Pac-12 Conference so far in 2013. OSU has seven regulars hitting at least .294 with nobody hitting under .250.
Sanchez now holds the team’s best reached-base streak at 13 games. With Hampton and Kutz each being held without a hit against Indiana, Sanchez and third baseman Beltran share the hitting streak lead, currently sitting at five games. During that 13-game on-base streak, Sanchez is hitting .405 (17-for-42) and has a hit in 12 of those games. She also has eight RBIs and 13 runs scored.
Along with hitting 29 home runs so far this season, the Beavers are doing the little things to win games. Oregon State is second in the conference in walks, first in sacrifice bunts and third in hits-by-pitch. Those numbers have the Beavers ranked third in the Pac-12 in runs scored with 142.
The Beavers’ second game tomorrow night is against host Fresno State at 8:15 p.m. It will be a homecoming for head coach Laura Berg. As a player for the Bulldogs in the mid-1990s, Berg was a four-time All-American whose collegiate career was highlighted by a NCAA Championship title in 1998. She led her squad to three Women’s College World Series appearances, two Western Athletic Conference crowns and helped Fresno State to a 206-60 (.774) record in her four-year career. She is second all-time in career hits in NCAA history with 396 and finished her career with a .414 batting average.
Oregon State opens the invitational against St. Mary’s at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.