Spring-break skid

In a five-day span the Viking softball team dropped six games and fell to10–21 on the season. This comes after an impressive showing at the SpringHill Suites Classic in Boise, Idaho that saw the team win three out of four.

In a five-day span the Viking softball team dropped six games and fell to10–21 on the season. This comes after an impressive showing at the SpringHill Suites Classic in Boise, Idaho that saw the team win three out of four.

The six-game slide comes at perhaps the toughest stretch of the Vikings’ schedule, as ranked opponents No. 25 Oregon and No. 1 Washington both swept Portland State at home before Oregon State finished the job on their home field. 

Facing No. 25 Oregon on March 23, the Vikings held their own in a 3–2 loss in the afternoon before their offense abandoned them in the nightcap, dropping the game 2–0. The Vikings tallied just eight hits and four walks between the two games. 

Anna Bertrand and Nichole Latham, however, befuddled a Ducks lineup that has batted .338 on the season, including 32 home runs and 45 doubles. Bertrand pitched a complete game, striking out seven while walking three and giving up three runs, only one of which was earned. Latham, reigning Pacific Coast Softball Conference Pitcher of the Year, continued to improve after struggling early in the season, as she too pitched a complete game. 

It was by far Latham’s best outing of the season. The junior pitcher struck out five and walked two while allowing two runs. The complete game was Latham’s second on the season and longest outing by pitch count, also lowering her ERA to 4.56. Rough games against Washington and Oregon State, however, have since brought her ERA back up to 4.96. 

Facing No. 1 Washington on Saturday, the Vikings put a scare into the defending national champions despite losing 3–2. With Bertrand once again in the circle, the Huskies were kept off balance as she allowed only one run through four before the Huskies tacked on runs in both the 5th and 6th innings.

The Vikings led 2–1 until the fifth inning, but once the Huskies took the lead they turned the ball over to USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Danielle Lawri, who struck out four batters in two innings to get the save and seal the win for the Huskies. 

The loss was notable as Bertrand continued to strike batters out at a torrid pace, striking out her hundredth batter of the season. After a loss to Oregon State, her season total now sits at 103, which leads both the Vikings and the PCSC this season and she is striking out 8.45 batters per seven innings. 

The Huskies had their way with the Vikings in the second matchup, winning 7–0 as the Huskies got to both Tori Rogers and Latham. The lineup, despite tallying six hits against game-one hero Lawrie, could not record a walk and went down on strikes eight times—never gaining enough momentum to threaten the Huskies.  

On Sunday, the Vikings were once again shut out, this time by Oregon State pitcher Paige Hall, who tossed back-to-back complete game shutouts against Portland State. Bertrand and Rogers held the Beavers to four hits in game one, but a lack of control hurt Bertrand as she walked six in five innings of work. It was only the fourth time this season that Bertrand failed to strike out more than one batter per inning.

The Pac-10 has been unkind to the Vikings thus far this season, as Portland State has yet to find a win against some of the NCAA’s finest.

The Vikings have lost nine in a row to Pac-10 teams this season but will get another opportunity as Portland State faces Oregon one more time in a double header on April 28.

Until then, the Vikings are on a long ten-day break before beginning conference play against Northern Colorado at Erv Lind Stadium on April 10.

Box Scores
                 123    456    7        R    H    E
Oregon    120    000    0    –    3    6    3
PSU          000    020    0    –    2    4    1
W–Moore (8–2), L–Bertrand (7–5), S–None
                                               R    H    E
Oregon    020    000    0    –    2    9    0
PSU         000    000    0    –    0    4    0
W–Skillingstad (6–3), L–Latham (1–4), S–None

                                               R    H    E
Wash.     010    011    0    –    3    9    1
PSU        101    000    0    –    2    5    3
W–Harris (1–0), L–Bertrand (7–6), S–Lawrie (2)
                                               R    H    E
Wash.    121    120    0    –    7    14    0
PSU        000    000    0    –    0    6    0
W–Lawrie (18–0), L–Rogers (2–9), S–None

                                               R    H    E
PSU        000    000    0    –    0    3    1
Ore. St.   030    010    X    –    4    4    1
W–Hall (12–12), L–Bertrand (7–7), S–None
                                               R    H    E
PSU         000    000    X    –    0    2    1
Ore. St.    160    002    X    –    9    8    0
W–Hall (13–12), L–Latham (1–5), S–None