After losing first 2 games of weekend, Oregon State holds on despite late Utah rally

It took a little bit longer than expected, but the Oregon State softball team defeated Utah in Salt Lake City on Sunday.

The Beavers had a 6-2 lead on the board in the seventh inning and needed only two more outs to win the game before rain started to fall, delaying action.

The Utes scored twice after the game restarted and had the winning run at the plate with two outs, but sophomore left fielder Kori Nishitomi made a running catch to bring the game to a close.

OSU (13-20, 3-7 Pac-12) avoided a collapse and beat Utah (14-16, 3-8) with a 6-4 final to take the last game of the series after dropping the first two.

The Beavers took advantage of Utah's mistakes in the field on several occasions. The Utes committed three errors, each of which resulted in a score by the Beavers.

The Beavers struck first in the opening frame when junior second baseman Ya Garcia put OSU up 1-0. With the bases empty and one out, she hit a ground ball to third and two Utah errors later, Garcia cruised home for the game's first run.

OSU capitalized on an error again in the second inning after freshman third baseman Amee Aarhus grounded to the pitcher with the bases loaded and another error by the Utes allowed the Beavers to tack on one more run.

Freshman catcher Kylie Padilla launched an RBI triple in the top of the fourth inning and scored on the next play after another misplayed ball by the Utes.

Nishitomi sent an RBI double into the left-field gap before scoring on a triple by Garcia to complete a four-run fourth inning that put OSU up 6-1.

The Beavers collected 12 hits in the game, including two each from Nishitomi, Garcia and senior first baseman Hannah Bouska.

While Utah struggled to make plays in the field, the Beavers were flawless defensively with no errors.

The Utes would have taken a 2-1 lead in the first after a single with two runners on, but Bridget Castro's attempt to score was denied by OSU junior center fielder Dani Gilmore's throw to the plate.

Senior pitcher Amanda Najdek turned in a complete game and picked up her ninth win.

Najdek's outing was on the heels of a rougher start in the first game of the series, when she gave up six earned runs on 10 hits in an 8-2 loss.

The Beavers were held to two hits and no walks in that matchup.

In the second game of the series, the Beavers' bats were productive with two home runs and a four-hit first inning, but Utah's two runs in the fifth inning proved to be the difference.

OSU took only one game in the series but had several strong offensive performances.

Padilla went 5-for-6 in the second two games, while Bouska and junior shortstop CJ Chirichigno both belted home runs in the second contest.

Chirichigno finished 3-for-7 in the series with two runs, two walks and two RBIs.

The Beavers will return to Corvallis for the Civil War series coming off a win. The first game against the Ducks is slated for Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Daily Barometer

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