CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State softball team broke open a tie game with a three-run fifth inning on its way to a 6-2 victory over Utah on Friday afternoon in Pac-12 action. The win moves the Beavers to 20-6 in games they score first and 21-8 in games with a home run.
Oregon State (25-14) took care of both of those categories with its first hitter of the game. Center fielder Dani Gilmore led off the bottom of the first with a skyscraping shot to right. The only question was whether or not the ball would stay fair, and it did so comfortably for her eighth home run of the season. Gilmore reached base four times on the day, going 2-for-2 while walking twice. Senior Lea Cavestany brought home Ashley Sanchez with an RBI single later in the inning to stake the Beavers to a 2-0 advantage.
Senior starter Tina Andreana held the Utes (17-22-1) without a run until the fifth inning, but a pair of leadoff walks and a two-run single after a pitching change made it a new ballgame. The Beavers wasted little time in the home half of the frame in getting the lead back. Sophomore Ya Garcia continued her hot hitting with a leadoff triple into the gap in right center. Including today’s 2-for-3, she’s now hitting .545 in her last four games and .344 for the season.
After a walk to Gilmore, senior Elizabeth Santana doubled home Garcia off the fence in center to put OSU back on top, 3-2. Cavestany followed with a two-out RBI single to right to chase Gilmore and Santana home. Cavestany’s three RBIs give her nine multi-RBI efforts this season, second to freshman first baseman Natalie Hampton (12). Santana was one of seven Beavers to record a base hit. She’s now hitting .320 in Pac-12 play this season, second only on the team to Garcia’s .348 mark. Santana also had a team-high five assists.
Junior Amanda Najdek got the win and senior Marina Demore earned the save with her two perfect innings of work. Demore got a little extra support in the Beavers’ sixth when junior Hannah Bouska homered to center to make it 6-2 for her third home run of the season.
Due to impending bad weather later tomorrow afternoon, the middle game of the series has been moved up to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.