Softball Splits A Pair With Two Ranked Opponents At Leadoff Classic

Feb. 23, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ga. - OREGON STATE UNIVERSITYThe 16th-ranked Oregon State softball team split a pair of close games against ranked opponents at the NFCA Leadoff Classic on Friday, with both games decided by one run late in the game. The Beavers opened the day with a 1-0 loss to defending national champion and No. 3 Oklahoma before bouncing back with a 2-1 win over No. 19 South Carolina in eight innings.

OSU (13-4) and the Sooners (11-0) were scoreless until the seventh inning, but OU's Erin Evans drew a one-out walk that eventually led to the winning run. She went to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on Ashli Barrett's grounder and scored on a passed ball by OSU catcher Traci Feldt.

Monica Hoffman took the loss for the Beavers and dropped to 2-3 despite holding Oklahoma to four hits. Hoffman struck out three and walked three.

'Monica pitched a really nice ball game and kept their batters off-balance. Offensively, we came out very focused and very intense,' coach Kirk Walker said. 'Unfortunately, we lost our focus and our confidence as the game progressed. It's unfortunate to lose on a passed ball, but we certainly know we are capable of competing with and against a team of Oklahoma's caliber.'

UO's Jennifer Stewart picked up the win after striking out seven Beavers and giving up just three hits.

Michelle Chariton extended her team-leading hitting streak to eight games after a 2-for-3 effort against the Sooners, and she also added two stolen bases. Traci Feldt was the only other Beaver to get a hit in the game.

The pitchers controlled the second game as well, with the two teams combining for just nine hits. Crystal Draper improved to 9-1 after throwing a four-hitter to go along with four strikeouts, while South Carolina's Megan Matthews and Stacey Johnson allowed just five hits and combined for 14 strikeouts.

'Crystal pitched a nice game and kept their offense from digging in,' Walker said.

Neither team scored in regulation, and Michelle Notaro started off the eighth inning on second base with the international tie-breaker rule in effect. She went to third after Brooke Rutschman reached first on an error, and Clare Burnam came up with a two-out double that scored two runs.

'Offensively, we did a terrible job adjusting. Fortunately we came through with our only well-hit ball of the game to score to two runs in the eighth. Clare did a nice job with two strikes to come up with that hit,' Walker said.

The Gamecocks (8-7) threatened in the bottom half of the eighth. Pinch hitter Melissa Sandel had an RBI single to score Samantha Jennings in SC's first at-bat of the inning. Sandel then went to third on a sacrifice bunt, but the Beaver defense then got back-to-back outs to pick up OSU's second extra-inning victory this season.

Burnam had two hits in the win over South Carolina, while Steph Adams and Shelly Prochaska each had one hit. Chariton's hitting streak came to end, as the junior was 0-for-4 against the Gamecocks.

OSU continues action at the Leadoff Classic with a game against San Diego State at 7 a.m. PST on Saturday, February 24. Pool play begins Saturday evening.

Game Results - NFCA Leadoff Classic

Game OneNo. 1 Oklahoma (11-0)		000 000 1 - 1 4 0No. 16 Oregon State (12-4)	000 000 0 - 0 3 0Stewart and Barrett. Hoffman and Feldt. WP- Stewart (6-0). LP- Hoffman (2-3).

Game TwoNo. 16 Oregon State (13-4)	000 000 02 - 2 5 1No. 19 South Carolina (8-7)	000 000 01 - 1 4 2Draper and Prochaska. Matthews, Johnson (7) and Genovese. WP- Draper (9-1). LP- Johnson (3-3). 2B- Burnam (OSU).
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