No. 23 Oregon State Continues Postseason Push At Utah
April 26, 2012
The Weekend: The 23rd-ranked Oregon State softball team will be back in action this coming weekend when it travels to Utah for its penultimate Pac-12 road series. The Beavers and Utes, playing for the first time as conference foes, will go head-to-head for mid-afternoon games on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 (3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MT) before wrapping up the series with a 11 a.m. PT/12 p.m. MT start on Sunday, April 29.
Tracking the Beavs: Live stats will be available online via GameTracker at osubeavers.com. Free audio of all three games can be heard at utahutes.com.
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A Look Back: The Beavers took two of three from No. 9 Washington over the weekend, sandwiching a game two loss with 4-3 and 3-2 wins. OSU then swept its final non-conference games of the season against Portland State on Tuesday, April 24 by scores of 2-0 and 3-2.
Beating The Best: The wins over Washington were OSU's seventh and eighth over a ranked opponent this season, its most over top-25 teams since its 2007 squad claimed eight such victories. This year also includes the program's first set of back-to-back wins (not necessarily in consecutive games) against ranked foes in non-conference since OSU won six straight such games in 2006 and the Beavers' first consecutive victories over ranked teams in Pac-12 play for only the third time in the last four years (vs. No. 15 Oregon - 3/25 & 3/26). The last Oregon State squad to defeat a greater number of ranked opponents was its 2006 WCWS team, which accomplished the feat 17 times.
A Good Pace: Oregon State is now 31-15 this season. That record through 46 games is the program's best mark since its 2007 team started that campaign 33-13. Oregon State has also now won 30 or more games in 12 of its 38 seasons as a Division I program. OSU last reached the mark in that 2007 season when it finished 41-23 en route to an NCAA Regional appearance in Ann Arbor, Mich., the team's last postseason berth.
Taking Care Of Business: Following the wins over Portland State, OSU closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 25-7 mark (.781). That represents the Beavers' highest number of non-league wins since 2007 (31) and their best winning percentage outside the Pac-12 since 2006 (.846).
Welcome Back: Following a renaissance on the diamond this season, Oregon State has worked its way back into the top-25 for the first time in over four years. OSU, now ranked for four straight weeks, sits at No. 23 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and is receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA rankings. Prior to this year, Oregon State was most recently 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 either poll 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 first came 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).
Games 47-49 - Utah: The Utes, playing their first season in the Pac-12, come into the game with a 25-21 overall record, but have yet to win a game in conference play (0-15). Utah is led at the plate by Whitney Holm, who is batting .382 with eight home runs and 37 RBI. Katelyn Elliott, Jackie Sweet, and Kelsi Hoopiiaina are the team's other regulars batting over .300. In the circle, Generra Nielson has appeared in 40 games, posting a 19-14 record with a 3.02 ERA.
Hurting The Huskies: Oregon State's series victory over No. 9 Washington was only its second series victory over a top-10 team in the last six years. OSU took two of three from No. 7 Arizona State in 2010.
Cool Down Devils: The Beavers' triumph over defending national champion and No. 3 Arizona State was the program's first over a top-5 team since it defeated No. 3 UCLA, 5-3, on May 9, 2008.
Stay Hot: Junior Elizabeth Santana has been a huge factor in OSU's strong play in conference. In the win against Arizona State, she went 2-for-3 with a game-tying solo home run in the seventh and a walk-off two-run job in the ninth. It was Oregon State's first walk-off long ball since Nikki Chandler hit one against UC Davis on March 5, 2010 in a 5-3 win. Since the Beavers' played their first Pac-12 game on March 24, Santana is batting a robust .389 (21-for-54) with three home runs, 12 RBI and 11 runs scored. In those same 18 games, senior Erin Guzy has also put together the best stretch of her career, batting .327 (16-for-49) with six runs scored.
California Love: The win over UCLA on April 1 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 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.
Civil War Records: The victories against Oregon in March 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.
Double Digits: In scoring 13 runs against Cal State Northridge on March 28, Oregon State pushed more than 10 runs across the plate for the seventh time this season, which is second in team history. The school record dates back to 1978 when OSU scored 10 or more 11 times in 25 games.
Cruising to Victory: The 13-1 final against the Matadors was also Oregon State's fifth win this year in which the margin of victory was at least 10 runs, tying for second in program history. The last time the Beavers defeated five opponents by double-digits was in 1993. The same 1978 holds the record in that category as well, as they won eight games by 10 or more that season.
Beavers On National Radar: Improved play has also landed Oregon State (22nd in NCAA RPI) among the nation's statistical leaders. Through games as of April 22, the Beavers are 27th in the nation in runs scored, averaging 5.55 per game, and are tied for 42nd in double plays, turning an average of 0.36 each contest. Individually, Paige Hall is tied for ninth in the country with four saves and Desiree Beltran is tied for 19th after being hit by a pitch 14 times. Freshman Dani Gilmore is tied for 45th in walks, patiently drawing 0.70 per game. Against Long Beach State, Gilmore tied an Oregon State record by drawing four free passes. It's the fifth time that had been done in team history and first since teammate Mary Claire Brenner walked four times against Ohio State in 2010.
Making Her Mark: Senior Paige Hall has been a dual threat for Oregon State throughout her entire career and is looking to cement her legacy in the Beaver record books in 2012. The Portland native notched her 13th win of the season against Portland State on April 24 and in doing so became just the sixth player in OSU history to reach the 50-win plateau for her career (50-42). Her 367 strikeouts in 564.0 innings put her just eight shy of passing Kelly Dyer (2007-10) for fifth all-time at OSU.
Not A Single One: In the second game of its doubleheader against Maine on Feb. 27, Oregon State shutout the Black Bears, 13-0, dispatching its opponent in only five innings. The final score marked the Beavers' largest shutout victory since a 17-run triumph over UAB on March 29, 2006.
Beavers Bring the Bats: OSU opened up its 2012 season by going 3-2 at the Kajikawa Classic and proceeded to put together the single-best five-game offensive stretch in team history. The squad put up a staggering 59 runs in five games (31 innings), crushing 10 home runs, including two grand slams, while getting on base at a .482 clip and going a perfect 8-for-8 on stolen bases.
Record-Setting Performance: Oregon State's 22 runs in the season-opener against BYU are the most in program history and the 16-run second inning is a school record as well. In that second frame, the team launched five home runs, tying the school mark for an entire game. Senior Paige Hall hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and Erin Guzy and Desiree Beltran smacked the school's first back-to-back jacks since 2009. The five home runs in one inning ties an NCAA record and is the fifth time it's ever been done. Creighton was the last school to turn the trick when they did it in the first frame against North Dakota State on April 5, 2010. The 16 runs scored in the second are tied for the sixth-most in NCAA history in any one inning.
Big Win: In the final game of the Kajikawa Classic, Oregon State upended No. 20 Nebraska, 11-3, in only six innings. It's the school's first victory over a top-20 team by way of the mercy rule since a 9-0 win over No. 17 Washington on April 3, 2005.
What A Difference A Year Makes: Oregon State's offensive production is on pace to eclipse a number of marks in the Beavers' record books, including runs, RBI and walks. OSU has 249 runs so far this season, which is tied for the sixth most in school history for any one year. Kirk Walker's team in 2001 scored the same number in 69 games. The school record dates from 2007 when OSU plated a runner 296 times. The Beavers are also on pace to tie the school records for RBI (262 - 2007) and walks (204 - 2003).
Mercy Please: The first three of Oregon State's wins this season came without having to go the full seven innings. This marked the first time the Beavers had three wins in a row come in such a fashion since March 2008. That month, the team won three straight games by 8-0 scores in five innings against Mississippi Valley State (twice) and Northern Illinois at the Cascade Clash in Corvallis, Ore. OSU has ended five games this season by way of the mercy rule. The team only had four games end before the seventh inning in all of 2011.
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