The Return: Softball Preps For 10th NCAA Postseason Appearance
May 15, 2012
Mary Claire Brenner.
The Weekend: The 24th-ranked Oregon State softball team will make its return to postseason play when it travels to Norman, Okla. to participate in the NCAA Regional hosted by the University of Oklahoma. With a double-elimination format, the Beavers open against Tulsa on Friday, May 18 at 3 p.m. PT/5 p.m. CT. Depending on its result against the Golden Hurricane, Oregon State will play either the host Sooners or Lehigh on Saturday.
Friday's winners will square off in Saturday's first of three games at 1 p.m. while Friday's two losers will face off in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. The loser of Saturday's first game will take on the winner of the day's second game in an elimination game. The winner of Saturday's final game will take on the winner of the day's first game on Sunday at 1 p.m. with an if-necessary rematch scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
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Postseason Prowess: Oregon State, which advanced to nine consecutive NCAA Regionals beginning in 1999, had not heard its name called since 2007. With the announcement, the Beavers became one of only 43 softball programs to advance to the postseason on at least 10 occasions. There are 289 total schools that sponsor the sport at the Division I level.
Beating The Best: The team's win over No. 16 Arizona on May 11 was OSU's ninth over a ranked opponent this season, its most over top-25 teams since its 2006 WCWS team claimed 17 such victories. Oregon State has also defeated 11 teams with an RPI in the top 50 in the country.
Double Digits: In scoring 10 runs against Utah on April 27, Oregon State pushed more than 10 runs across the plate for the eighth 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. The Beavers' 10-run output was the team's most in a conference game since 2010, when OSU plated the same number in a 10-8 victory over Stanford on April 11. Including the Utah performance, the Beavers have only scored 10 or more runs in conference games five times since 1994.
Oregon State's seven-run seventh in in game one against Utah on April 27 also marked the largest run total for the Beavers in any one frame in a Pac-12 game since they scored 10 in the ninth inning of a 15-5 win over Stanford on April 5, 2003.
Clean Slate: Oregon State finished its regular season with a 34 wins against 21 losses. That record through 55 games is the program's best mark since its 2007 team started that campaign 36-19. 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.
Offensive Fireworks: Oregon State's offensive production is on pace to challenge a number of marks in the Beavers' record books. OSU has 283 runs so far this season, which is the second most in school history for any one year. The school record dates from 2007 when OSU plated a runner 296 times in 64 games. The Beavers are also on pace to threaten the school record for RBI (262 - 2007). If the season ended today, the team's .275 batting average would be third all-time at OSU.
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.
Fab Frosh: Dani Gilmore is having one of the more impressive seasons for a Beaver freshman in recent memory. Through 55 games she is batting .313 (52-for-166) with nine home runs and 33 RBI. Her 42 runs scored and 13 stolen bases place her for 4th and tied for 6th in single-season history at Oregon State in each respective category. Her nine long balls in her first year in Corvallis are the most for any Oregon State freshman since All-American Tarrah Beyster launched 12 in 1997.
Stay Hot: Junior Elizabeth Santana has been a huge factor in OSU's strong play this season. In the upset of No. 3 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 .349 (29-for-83) with four home runs, 16 RBI and 17 runs scored. The last Oregon State player to best her 61 hits so far this season was All-American Cambria Miranda, who had 66 in 2007.
In those same 27 games, senior Erin Guzy has also put together the best stretch of her career, batting .325 (25-for-77) with five doubles, eight runs scored and nine RBI. Against Utah on April 29, Guzy hit the 30th double of her career, which places her 10th all-time at OSU.
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 (51-43). Her 381 strikeouts in 578.1 innings put her fifth all-time at OSU. Additionally, her five saves this year are tied for third in program history for a single season, are tops in the Pac-12 and tied for eighth in the nation.
Demore Dealing: Junior Marina Demore had the best start of her career against No. 16 Arizona on May 11, limiting the Wildcats to only four hits in her third-ever complete-game shutout. She allowed only a bloop single through the first five innings in holding the Wildcats scoreless for only the fourth time all season. The four hits Arizona scraped together were its third fewest on the year. In 2011 she tossed two moderately comparable games, blanking Utah State 9-0 in five innings on March 19 and shutting out Southern Miss for nine frames in a 1-0 victory on March 5. Demore ended up throwing 12 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings against Arizona. Earlier this season during non-conference play she tossed 23 scoreless frames in a row.
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 seven straight weeks, sits at No. 24 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. 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).
Taking Care Of Business: Following the wins over Portland State on April 24, 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).
Bearing Down On The Wildcats: The Beavers' 4-0 victory over No. 16 Arizona on May 11 was Oregon State's first in Tucson since 2005. It was also the program's first shutout in Pac-12 play since it downed California, 8-0 in six innings, on April 12, 2008. The last time the Beavers shutout a conference foe in a full seven-inning game was on April 27, 2007 in a 2-0 win against Washington.
Undercutting The Utes: The series win against Utah gave the Beavers their second consecutive Pac-12 series victory and third of the season. OSU had never won back-to-back series since the conference switched to the current format for league play in 2010, with three games in three days against the same opponent. In taking two of three from the Utes, Oregon State also won its third Pac-12 series of the year for the first time since 2007. This year the Beavers also won all but once in three-game sets against then-No. 15 Oregon and then-No. 9 Washington. In 2007 they did the same against Stanford, California and Washington.
The eight-run margin of victory in the opener (W, 10-2) 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.
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.
California Love: The win over No. 14 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 No. 15 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 7-1 final in the finale was the Beavers' largest victory against Oregon in over a decade, since an 11-2 win on April 14, 2001.
Cruising to Victory: The 13-1 final against Cal State Northridge on March 28 was 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.
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.
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.
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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