OSU hosts New Mexico in home opener
Oregon State softball is off to best start since 2006, enters Thursday 20-4
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 02:03
For the first time in six weeks, the members of the Oregon State softball team will not spend their Thursday settling into a hotel in some city with better weather than Corvallis.
Instead, they will spend today preparing for and then playing a doubleheader against the University of New Mexico in Corvallis.
After 24 consecutive road games to begin the season, the Beavers finally get to play in front of their fans.
“I’m excited to show our fans what we got,” said senior Ashley Sanchez.
It appears the No. 23 Beavers (20-4) got a lot.
OSU has won six in a row and 18 of its last 19 after starting the season 2-3. Since losing to Kentucky in their fifth game of the season, the Beavers have outscored their opponents 143-44. Outside of the preseason rankings, OSU has checked in at No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll two weeks in a row.
Expectations were high to start the season — players have said the goal is to reach the College World Series in Oklahoma City, which OSU last qualified for in 2006 — and thus far, results indicate those expectations are attainable.
The Beavers are off to their best start since 2006, when they started the season 30-2.
Players credit their early-season success to fight, communication and consistency.
“I really like the fight that we’ve had lately,” said senior outfielder Lea Cavestany, who’s second on the team in home runs (four) and fourth in batting average (.356). “The way that we play our games this year compared to past years is we just go out there and give our all like it’s our last game. We don’t care who it is, what the score is, we just go in there, play until the end of the game, and whatever the outcome is we know we gave it our all.”
If there has been a theme so far this season, it’s been the Beavers’ ability to come from behind late in games. Last weekend in Fresno, Calif., they trailed San Diego State 4-0 entering the fifth inning and went on to win 9-5.
“When we get down in games, we don’t just give up like I’ve seen in the past,” said Sanchez, a .362 hitter on the season. “In the past, there would be times where we’d not be surprised when we did lose. When we get down, we have all the confidence in each other to come back and win it.”
It helps that they have a potent lineup capable of putting up runs in bunches.
Eight of OSU’s nine regular starters are hitting .300 or better on the season. Last year, two Beavers hit .300 or better. Thanks in large part to freshman slugger Natalie Hampton’s 10 home runs, this year’s team has hit 30 dingers — last year’s team hit 42 in 59 games.
OSU’s pitching has been solid, as well. Senior Marina Demore has been the team’s primary workhorse, compiling a 14-2 record and 1.99 earned run average in 88 innings of work. Collectively, the Beavers’ staff has a 2.59 ERA.
In New Mexico, OSU faces a team that’s won 13 of its last 20 after starting the season with seven consecutive losses.
Game one is slated to begin at noon, with game two to follow shortly after the conclusion of game one.