HONOLULU – The Oregon State softball team started the 2017 season on the right foot winning its season opener doubleheader. The Beavers defeated UAB 4-0 in the opener before sweeping the day with a 6-3 victory over Sacramento State in game two. The Beavers start 2-0 for the third consecutive season, while it was the fifth straight season opener win for head coach Laura Berg and the seventh straight for the Beavers.
GAME 1 vs. UAB
The Beavers started the scoring in the first frame as Shelby Weeks recorded an infield single before stealing her way around the bases. Two batter later, Natalie Hampton hit a sac fly to left field, which scored weeks and gave the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
Oregon State increased their lead in the bottom of the third after Sammi Noland tallied an infield single to score Lovie Lopez (Wintu Tribe). Alysha Everett walked the next at bat to juice the bases for Stephanie Merwin. Merwin – who made her first career start – was hit by a pitch, which scored pinch runner Riley Gregoire from third.
The Beavers added an insurance run in the fourth after Jessica Garcia stole second and came around to score after an error by the UAB catcher.
Nerissa Eason earned her first win of the season in her first career start in the circle for the Beavers and pitched the complete game. The freshman allowed just three hits, while walking four batters and striking out eight.
Hampton, Noland and Merwin tallied RBIs for the Beavers, while Shelby weeks finished 2-for-4 at the dish.
GAME 2 vs. SACRAMENTO STATE
Both Oregon State and Sacramento State start the game slow, each leaving runners on base in the first frames. The Beavers finally caught rhythm in the top of the fourth as Natalie Hampton led off with a double to left field. Sammi Noland then got the Beavers on the board after a homerun to left field gave them a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth, Lovie Lopez (Wintu Tribe) joined in on the scoring with a solo shot to left center to increase Oregon State’s lead to 3-0.
The Beavers’ offense found its’ groove in the seventh as Noland tallied a fielders choice that allowed Lopez to score. Alysha Everett followed with a single through the right side to score Hampton before Kayleen Shafer closed the big inning with a sac fly to center to score Noland.
Entering the final frame, the Beavers were carrying a no-hitter, but the Hornets would not let it stand. The Beavers started the inning with two errors that allowed Sac St. to load the bases with one out. The Hornets would walk in a run before a single to left center broke the no-hitter and scored another run. The Hornets would add another run before the Beavers secured the victory.
Taylor Cotton recorded the win after starting the game and pitched five innings, while not giving up a hit and striking out three. Meehra Nelson came in as relief for the last two innings and posted three strikeouts and just one walk.
Hampton finished the game with a 3-for-4 performance, while Noland recorded three RBI.
The Beavers will continue playing at the Paradise Classic tomorrow tonight, when they face Hawaii under the lights at 9:00 p.m. PT.