Softball opens weekend with doubleheader
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 00:02
Prior to the start of the regular season, Oregon State softball head coach Laura Berg said her team needed to win as many games as possible during nonconference play.
A “no-duh” assertion, right? Not necessarily, considering seven Pac-12 teams are ranked and wins are hard to come by for anyone in conference play.
“We beat each other up so much in the Pac-12, not just the lower half but the upper half, too,” Berg said. “You’ve got to get these wins, so when the committee is putting the postseason together they see we have a winning record.
“These guys know we’ve got to get to 30 [wins] as fast as possible. Thirty to 35 is the magic number.”
Through two weeks and 11 nonconference games, the Beavers have eight wins.
“[I’m] happy with eight, but [it] should be more,” Berg said. “We should have 10. Overall, we’ve just got to keep getting those wins. We’ve got to expect to get these next five games under our belt.”
The Beavers play five games in three days in Palm Springs, Calif., beginning today with Colorado State at 6 p.m. and Maryland at 8:30 p.m.
Last week, OSU went 5-0 in Las Vegas, all against unranked opponents. The week prior, the Beavers opened their season in Tempe, Ariz. by going 3-3 with losses to No. 2 Oklahoma, Creighton and No. 21 Kentucky.
“We’ve made some mental errors that we’ve got to eliminate in order to get us to our final destination,” Berg said. “Our hitting is on fire, we have some people who are hitting out of their minds right now, so don’t want to wake them up. And Marina [Demore], she’s throwing really well. And Sarah [Shadinger], she’s throwing really well.”
Demore has accounted for 38 of the staff’s 70 innings pitched and has a 2.39 earned run average and a 5-1 record. She’s also walked just seven batters after struggling with her command at times last year. Shadinger, a freshman, has only made two appearances, but has struck out nine in 11 1/3 innings in the circle.
At the plate, the blazing hot bats of Natalie Hampton and Lea Cavestany have led OSU.
Hampton, a freshman first baseman, leads the Beavers in batting average (.444), home runs (4) and RBIs (15).
“I mean, I guess,” Hampton said when asked if she’s been surprised by her early-season success. “But my coaches have prepared me for everything I’ve seen so far.”
Cavestany, a senior outfielder, is hitting .429 and already has hit a walk-off home run and a seventh-inning, go-ahead home run.
“I think it goes back to the summer,” Cavestany said. “I worked really hard, conditioning-wise, getting those extra practices in. I’m seeing the ball and hitting the ball.”
Of the five teams OSU faces this weekend, only one received votes in this week’s USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll: Georgia Tech, which OSU faces Saturday. The Beavers received a handful of votes this week after not receiving any last week.
“We’re feeling really good,” Cavestany said. “We’re just ready to go out to Palm Springs and continue our fight.”
Grady Garrett, sports reporter