PSU softball continues league play in Bengal territory

After a disappointing start to league play, Portland State softball has a chance to bring its record out of the red this weekend.

After a disappointing start to league play, Portland State softball has a chance to bring its record out of the red this weekend.

A week after the Vikings opened up Pacific Coast Softball Conference play by dropping three out of four games to visiting Utah Valley, PSU travels to southern Idaho to take the field against the Idaho State Bengals.

The Vikings (13-15, 1-3 PCSC) are set to play the Bengals (7-23, 0-4 PCSC) in a pair of doubleheaders in Chubbuck, Idaho on Saturday and Sunday.

This weekend provides the Vikings with an opportunity to make up some lost ground in the division standings. Now in fourth place in the PCSC’s Mountain Division, Portland State is three games behind division-leading Northern Colorado and two games behind Seattle and Utah Valley.

The Vikings—who were the unanimous pick to take the Mountain Division in the preseason poll—began the season with an impressive 11-7 start before losing eight of their last 10 games.

Going into this weekend, Portland State leads the overall series with Idaho State, 8-2, and the Vikings have won the last six meetings between the schools.

The only meeting in Pocatello was in 1981, when the Bengals took a 2-1 win in an endurance contest that lasted 18 innings. Though Idaho State holds the advantage on their home field in Pocatello, this weekend’s series has been moved to Capell Park in nearby Chubbuck due to rain and snow.

Last season, the Vikings swept the series with Bengals, outscoring them 24-3 over four games. Sophomore pitcher Anna Bertrand chalked up a career-high 16 strikeouts in the first game of last year’s series against the Bengals.

This weekend is the home opener for the Bengals, and they enter this weekend riding some winning momentum after opening league play by getting swept in four games at Northern Colorado. The Bengals beat Utah State 6-1 on Wednesday in a non-conference matchup that put an end to a five-game losing streak.

Portland State’s pitching staff, which is combined for a 2.69 ERA and a .241 opponents’ batting average, should have little difficulty with Idaho State’s lineup this weekend. Sophomore Christina Rayner is the only Bengal who is hitting above the .300 mark. Rayner—their number two pitcher—is hitting .333 with three home runs, and her 19 RBIs ties for sixth place in the PCSC. She enters this weekend on a four-game hitting streak.

Senior Nichole Latham leads Portland State in the pitching circle with an 8-7 record on the season, and her 1.87 ERA puts her second in the league. Latham has thrown 49 strikeouts in 97 1/3 innings of work. With 11 shutouts over her career, Latham is eighth in the PCSC’s all-time record books.

Bertrand, who holds a 5-8 record on the season, leads the PCSC in strikeouts (102), batters struck out looking (37) and opponents’ batting average (.228). With 320 Ks in less than two complete seasons, Bertrand already ranks ninth in the league’s all-time record book.

On offense, junior catcher Lacey Holm leads the Viking charge with a .368 batting average, placing her sixth in the conference tables. Holm also ranks fourth in the league with 22 RBIs, and she is tied with two other Vikings—junior infielder Karmen Holladay and sophomore infielder Carly McEachran—for a team-leading three home runs. Holm enters this weekend riding a two-game hitting streak.

Right behind Holm is junior transfer Jenna Krogh, who is hitting .337 from the leadoff position with a team-leading nine multi-hit games. Sophomore shortstop Arielle Wiser is hitting .311 with 12 RBIs and seven multi-hit performances. Wiser will be looking to improve on her three-game hitting streak, which is the longest active streak on the PSU squad.

The first game of each doubleheader is set to begin at 11 a.m., local time. Due to the change of location to Capell Park, it is unknown whether the games can be followed via live stats. Fans are advised to check for availability. ?

Team comparison

                                                    PSU            ISU

Overall record                         13-15            7-23

Batting avg.                              .268             .232

Runs                                           113              95           

Home runs                                   17              19

Fielding pct.                              .961            .928

DPs turned                                    6                7

ERA                                            2.69             4.80

Opponents’ batting avg.           .241            .325

Strikeouts thrown                       151            106



PSU softball’s offensive leaders

Player                      Batting avg.            Runs            Hits            RBIs

Lacey Holm                     .368                       7                28            22

Jenna Krogh                    .377                      16               31            3

Arielle Wiser                    .311                       16              28            12

Crysta Conn                    .263                        7               21            13

Sadie Lopez                    .257                       14              19            7

Danielle Lynn                   .250                       6               19            11

Karmen Holladay             .250                       7               15            14

Cary McEachran              .221                      15               17            9