Softball winds up soggy schedule

The Portland State University women’s softball team wound up its home schedule this weekend against Santa Clara.

The persistent rain that blanketed the Portland area over the weekend forced the cancellation of Sunday’s doubleheader.

“This has been the wettest season in my 27 years,” said head coach Teri Mariani. “We’ve only practiced 10 times on our own field.” Meteorologists have called this April the wettest in 50 years.

“It’s been extremely difficult for our players,” Mariani said.

The Pacific Coast Softball Conference might reschedule Sunday’s games because the conference championship is still up in the air. The Vikings (19-29, 10-8 PCSC) and the Broncos (30-23, 12-4 PCSC) are in third and second, respectively, but the postponed games might have a bearing on who is crowned conference champ because first-place Loyola Marymount (33-20, 14-5 PCSC) won all three games of a tripleheader against Saint Mary’s on Sunday, and those two teams will play a final makeup game Friday.

“We’re waiting to find out if they’ll reschedule. They don’t generally try to make up games from the last weekend of the season because it’s so cost-prohibitive,” Mariani said.

Loyola Marymount holds a slim half-game lead over Santa Clara for first place in the PCSC’s inaugural season. Santa Clara plays two games tomorrow against Saint Mary’s.

Everybody in the PCSC lost games due to weather this weekend. Add the cost of airline tickets without a seven-day advance purchase to the fact that next weekend’s weather looks gloomy, and a makeup doubleheader against Santa Clara looks doubtful.

In Saturday’s opener, PSU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth after junior Annie Peccia doubled to open the inning, took third on a wild pitch and came around to score on a Santa Clara error. The one-run lead held up until the top of the seventh, when Santa Clara scored once to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh, senior Megumi Hackett reached first on an error. Designated player Kayla Lewis then smacked a double, scoring Hackett and ending the game. Lewis, a sophomore, had two of the Vikings’ four hits in the game. Senior pitcher Morgan Seibert had a no-hitter going through five innings and eventually allowed the Broncos just three hits. The win tied Seibert for career victories with her sister Shevaun and Christy Merrill.

Sloppy play in Saturday afternoon’s nightcap put the Vikings in a hole early. Coach Mariani went with Seibert again in the nightcap, but the Broncos chased her with three hits and five runs in the first three innings. Freshman Michelle Hext came on in relief and allowed just one hit in over four innings, but the Vikings couldn’t generate enough runs in the rain, and the Broncos’ runs stood up for a 5-2 Vikings loss. Junior Erin Stokey, coming off a knee injury suffered a week earlier, sacrificed pinch-runner Melanie Langley home in the fourth, and Kayla Lewis picked up another RBI when she singled home catcher Rose Rutledge in the sixth. The Vikings stranded seven base runners, and the two teams combined for seven errors on the muddy field.

“We wanted to sweep those games to get into second place. Their pitching wasn’t all that powerful,” Mariani said.

The Vikings finally beat a Pac-10 opponent Thursday afternoon when senior Nichole Ivie hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning and it held up for a 3-1 victory over Oregon State in the second half of a doubleheader at Erv Lind Stadium. The Vikings had been 0-9 against Pac-10 foes this season. Hext pitched a complete game three-hitter and struck out five while allowing only a third inning run on a fielder’s choice. In the opening game of the doubleheader, the Beavers scored six runs off Seibert and another three off reliever Megan Herscher and thumped the Viks 9-1. The Vikings were held to five hits, all singles, in the loss.

Irony surrounds Seibert’s quest for the career-victory mark at PSU. Her sister Shevaun, who finished pitching four years ago, went into her final weekend tied with Christy Merrill for career victories but had her last chance for the all-time record drowned by rain. Now Morgan is also tied with her sister and Merrill. Unless the PCSC decides to make up Sunday’s games, there will be a three-way tie for all-time wins in the Vikings record book.