No. 6 Seeded Softball Falls To No. 4 Ranked Oklahoma, 7-2, In NCAA Regional Tournament Championship
May 18, 2003
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Oregon State junior pitcher Monica Hoffman earned NCAA Regional Tournament co-Most Outstanding Player honors on Sunday afternoon, but the No. 6 seeded Beavers dropped a 7-2 contest to No. 4 ranked University of Oklahoma in the championship game in Gainesville, FL.
With the victory, Oklahoma (46-12) advances to the Women's College World Series, while Oregon State finishes the season with a 36-31 record. The Beavers won four straight games to reach the Regional championship contest for the third time in school history.
Both teams got on the scoreboard with unearned runs in the second inning, but the Beavers squandered a golden opportunity by stranding a pair of runners on base even after three Oklahoma errors in the frame.
The Sooners broke-up Hoffman's no-hitter in a big way in the top of the third inning, pounding four hits and scoring five runs to take a 6-1 lead. Kelli Braitsch's two-out two-RBI double to right-center field sparked the OU offense. Freshman hurler Amy Klever entered the contest in relief, getting the Beavers out of the inning. Only three of Oklahoma's five runs in the frame were earned.
OSU got one run back in the bottom of the third, to make the score 6-2. Adrienne Alo singled to lead-off the frame and Shelly Prochaska followed with a double. Alo scored on a single to left field by Kelly Petersen, but Prochaska was thrown out at the plate and OSU couldn't get another run on the board.
Oklahoma cushioned its lead in the fifth inning, taking advantage of a lead-off double by Christina Enea and an RBI single from Heather Scaglione.
Prochaska roped her second double of the day in the bottom of the fifth inning but once again, the Beavers were unable to capitalize and stranded a pair of runners on base.
The Beavers tallied seven hits on the afternoon, but left eight runners stranded on base.
Hoffman (26-15) finished the tournament with 27 strikeouts in 32.1 innings of work, while boasting a 1.08 ERA. The junior hurler battled a shoulder injury throughout the season and pitched throughout the tournament with a swollen leg after taking a line-drive off her left shin against No. 10 ranked Florida State.
'Monica's (Hoffman) performance throughout the weekend was one of the most productive performances I've seen from an athlete dealing with injuries against that kind of talent,' said OSU head coach Kirk Walker. 'It brings back memories of Lisa Fernandez (UCLA four-time All-American) at the College World Series throwing every inning of every game when she wasn't healthy. It's amazing to see athletes like that really step-up. I didn't tell Monica this earlier, but her performance was very reminiscent of that - it was very inspiring and very worthy of tremendous praise.'
Oregon State matched Oklahoma with four players on the All-Regional Tournament squad. Clare Burnum finished with the third-highest batting average in the field, hitting .500 (9-for-18) with three runs scored, a triple and a home run. Steph Adams earned her first All-Regional Tourney recognition after posting a .333 clip from the plate, while Brynnen Guthrie earned back-to-back All-Regional honors. Both Adams and Guthrie belted a pair of home runs on the week.
'This was a great weekend for us,' said Walker. 'It was probably as impressive of a performance that I've seen out of our team this year. We fought hard and everyone was going after it - it was very impressive.'
Each of the 10 Beaver players that stepped to the plate tallied at least one hit during the tournament.
All told, the 2003 Oregon State squad broke a school record six single season batting marks and five single game records. OSU recorded 30-plus wins for the fifth consecutive year and had its best NCAA Regional Tournament finish in three years. The Beavers' four Regional Tournament victories were their most since 1999.
No. 4 Oklahoma - 015 010 0 - 7 8 4
Oregon State - 011 000 0 - 2 7 2
Hoffman, Klever (3) and Prochaska (OSU), Keiter and Scaglione (OU). WP - Keiter (33-7). LP - Hoffman (26-15). 2B - Braitsch (OU), Enea (OU), Prochaska, 2 (OSU).