Softball Vaults Into National Polls For First Time Since 2008
April 3, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Following a week in which it secured three wins over top-15 opponents, including a series win over rival Oregon and a rare road upset of UCLA, the Oregon State softball team was rewarded for its efforts on Tuesday morning, as the Beavers worked their way into the top-25 for the first time in over four years.
OSU moved to No. 25 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I poll and entered the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings at No. 23.
Oregon State was last ranked on February 12, 2008 when it came in at 25th in both polls. The last time the program was any higher was in 2008's preseason rankings, which tabbed Kirk Walker's squad 18th (USA Today/NFCA) and 19th (ESPN.com/USA Softball), respectively. The most recent time OSU was featured in national polls this late in the season was in the final rankings of 2007 (June 20) when it finished the season as the 15th-best team in the country according to the USA Today/NFCA voters.
The national recognition comes on the heels of an impressive seven-game stretch which saw the Beavers claim two wins over then-No. 15 Oregon (5-4 (8); 7-1) on Monday, March 26 in addition to a road upset of then-No. 14 UCLA (7-5) on Sunday, April 1. Oregon State hadn't beaten three ranked teams in the same week in six years, since defeating No. 1 UCLA (2-0) and No. 14 Washington (3-2; 5-0) on three consecutive days in 2006 (April 21-23).
The win over UCLA was exceptional in many respects. It was Oregon State's 11th all-time victory against the perennial powerhouse from Southern California and was only the Beavers' fourth win against the Bruins in Westwood. OSU (26-10, 3-3 Pac-12) last came away from Easton Stadium on top on April 21, 2006 in a 2-0 triumph over then-No. 1 UCLA.
It was also Oregon State's first Pac-12 road win of any sort since 2009 (4/11/09 vs. Oregon; W, 2-1) and was the program's first true road win against a top-15 team since it defeated No. 11 Washington, 2-0, on April 27, 2007. The 7-5 final also snapped UCLA's 12-game winning streak, handed the Bruins (25-7, 2-1 Pac-12) their first home loss of the season and only their first home defeat at the hands of an unranked opponent since 2009.
The victories against Oregon gave Oregon State its first back-to-back wins against the Ducks since 2008 and sealed only the Beavers' third Pac-12 series victory since that year. The six-run margin of victory in the finale was OSU's largest in a Pac-12 game in almost four years, going back to an 8-0 win in six innings against then-No. 22 California on April 12, 2008, and the 7-1 final was also the Beavers' largest victory against Oregon in over a decade, since an 11-2 win on April 14, 2001.
Oregon State's 3-3 mark in Pac-12 play is the program's best conference start since it began 4-2 in 2007, which is also the last year the Beavers advanced to the postseason.
OSU is 26-10 overall and is rated 25th in the latest NCAA softball RPI. The Beavers are 17th in the nation in runs per game (6.14) and are on pace to break school records for both runs and RBI.
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