After her Oregon State softball team defeated Stanford on Friday and Saturday, coach Laura Berg talked about how the Cardinal, despite not having won a game in the Pac-12, may be the most dangerous team in the conference.
That’s because Stanford had nothing to lose and could player the spoiler role.
The Cardinal proved Berg right, much to her dismay, with an 8-6, eight-inning win over the Beavers at the OSU Softball Complex on Sunday afternoon.
Teaghan Cowles delivered the big blow, a two-run triple in the top of the eighth that gave the Cardinal the 8-6 lead.
The Beavers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
The Cardinal (18-24, 1-14) overcame a 5-0 deficit after two innings to pick up their first conference win since May 2, 2015 when they defeated Arizona State 4-2 in nine innings. Stanford had lost 41 straight in Pac-12 play.
“Not happy,” Berg said. “Again, we thought we could just throw our gloves out there on the ball field and win a game. And like I said, this is the most dangerous team in the conference because they’ve got nothing to lose. (The Beavers) put it on cruise control when we got up 5-0 and didn’t take care of business.”
Junior left fielder Lovie Lopez agreed with her coach’s assessment.
“We got on top of them early and put it in cruise control a little bit and it bit us in the butt,” she said. “We can’t do that. I think this game was definitely a big learning experience for us.”
Oregon State (24-19, 6-9), battling for a possible postseason berth, hits the road for a three-game series at Oregon beginning on Friday in Eugene.
The Beavers face Utah the following weekend at home before closing out conference play at California.
“We’ve got some tough opponents ahead of us, it’s conference, it’s the Pac-12,” Berg said. “Is it doable? Absolutely. We’ve got to come out, we can’t give up 12 free bags and have errors and things like that. That’s not going to win ball games in the Pac-12. So we’ve got to come out, gather ourselves, kind of brush ourselves off and get back to it.”
The Beavers started well, scoring three in the first and two in the second to jump on top.
In the bottom of the first, McKenna Arriola and Shelby Weeks singled on the first pitch they saw. After a pop up and a wild pitch moved both runners up, Natalie Hampton chopped a single back up the middle to make it 2-0.
A single by Lopez and a walk to Stephanie Merwin loaded the bases with two outs. Kayleen Shafer drew a walk to make it 3-0 and the Cardinal went to the bullpen before getting out of the inning.
Alysha Everett’s opposite-field two-run homer to left gave the Beavers a 5-0 lead in the second.
Then the game changed.
The Cardinal took advantage of four hits, two walks and two errors to take the lead in the top of the third.
Whitney Burks put the Cardinal on the board with a two-run homer to center.
Stanford loaded the bases on two walks and a catcher’s obstruction before Nerissa Eason came on in relief for the Beavers.
An error by Hampton at first with two outs allowed the Cardinal to cut the deficit to 5-4. A single to center by Cowles tied the game at 5 before Kristina Inouye, who opened the inning with a double, singled to third to put Stanford up 6-5.
The Beavers got even in the bottom of the inning on a two-out single by Arriola, her third hit of the game.
Oregon State had a chance to take the lead in the fourth thanks to an error and single by Sammi Noland with one out, but failed to score.
From there, the Beavers’ only other baserunner was Noland after a leadoff single in the seventh.
Berg said the Beavers were pressing at the plate.
“We were getting too ahead of ourselves in the batter’s box, not getting timely hits, trying to force it too much,” Lopez said. “That can really get you against a team like this. We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas pedal the whole time no matter what.”
Three Beavers pitchers issued eight walks and hit two batters, while two more reached on errors. The Cardinal left 18 runners on in eight innings while Beavers left on eight.
“We’ll definitely remember this game for the rest of the season,” Lopez said.