No. 6 Softball Falls Short In NCAA Regional Championship Game, 8-6
May 22, 2005
MADISON, Wisc. - DePaul University held on for an 8-6 victory against No. 6 ranked Oregon State in Sunday's softball championship game of the NCAA Regional Tournament. With the win, the Blue Demons advance to the Super Regional, while the Beavers' season comes to a close.
Oregon State finished one of its most successful seasons in school history with a 43-16 overall record. The Beavers earned their first-ever share of the Pacific-10 Conference title and reached the Regional title game for the third straight year, before falling short of an inaugural trip to the Women's College World Series.
OSU shutout the Blue Demons by a 7-0 score earlier in the day to force the deciding game, but DePaul (43-19) sophomore centerfielder Linda Secka belted a first inning two-out three-run home run to give the Blue Demons a 3-0 advantage and shift all the momentum to DePaul's sideline.
Nine of Oregon State's 16 losses on the year came when the opposition scored in the opening frame.
'The difference was their big hit in the first inning and it took the wind out of our sails,' said Pac-10 Coach of the Year Kirk Walker.
Adrienne Alo's fourth inning 2-RBI double over the rightfielder's head pulled the Beavers within 4-2, but the Blue Demons exploded for four runs on four hits in the bottom of the frame to put the game out of reach.
The Beavers failed to give up and closed within 8-5 by scoring a trio of runs in the top of the sixth. Vanessa Iapala reached on a bunt single and freshman Cambria Miranda picked up her second hit of the contest with a single that was misplayed in the outfield. Alo earned her third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field. Oregon State added two more runs when Sherina Galvan reached base on an errant throw.
'I couldn't ask for anything more from this group of players and our seniors,' said Walker. 'We worked hard all year long and have a lot to be proud of.'
OSU sophomore pitcher Ta'Tyana McElroy retired five straight batters after entering the game and getting the final out in the bottom of the fourth. She allowed just one hit in 2.1 innings of relief.
The Beavers battled again in the top of the seventh when Iapala belted her fifth home run of the season over the right field fence. The two-out home run - Oregon State's seventh long ball in the tournament - made the final margin 8-6.
'We never gave up,' said Oregon State starting pitcher Brianne McGowan who finished the tournament with 53 strikeouts in 31.2 innings of work.
'This is how we played all year,' said senior second baseman Kelly Petersen. 'We've come from behind so many times... there wasn't a doubt in our minds that we couldn't come back.'
Petersen, making her fourth and final NCAA Regional appearance, finished the tournament with a .308 (4-for-13) batting average, two home runs, and five RBI. Fellow senior Alana Mendoza finished with 11 putouts and three assists while playing at first base and picked up a pair of sacrifices in her final tourney.
McGowan, the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, suffered the loss to finish the year with a school record 36-10 mark. Her 346 strikeouts shattered the school's single season record.
Iapala and Miranda each picked up a pair of hits in the game and Miranda led the tournament field with a .588 (10-for-17) batting average, five runs scored, and two doubles. The freshman sensation from Camarillo, CA, finished the year with a team-leading .324 clip from the plate.
For the first time in school history, six Oregon State players finished the season batting above .300.
No. 6 Oregon State - 000 203 1 - 6 7 1
DePaul - 301 400 x - 8 10 4
McGowan, McElroy (4) and Allen (OSU), Huitink and Amundson (DPU). WP - McGowan (36-10). LP - Huitink (20-10). HR - Secka (DPU), Iapala (OSU). 2B - Galvan (OSU), Alo (OSU), Doezie (DPU).