Viking softball is hot

The Portland State women’s softball team returned home from the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M. after completing its best weekend since moving to Division I and beating New Mexico State 7-3 on Sunday.

Since making the move to Division I in 1999, the Vikings have taken a bumpy road during non-conference play and have never been at .500 or above later than four games into a season – until now.

The Vikings have played 10 games thus far in 2004, and after last weekend’s 4-1 showing at the Troy Cox Classic, PSU stands at 5-5 overall and has its first tournament championship trophy as a Division I program.

PSU had a tournament-high four players named to the All-Tournament team: Catcher Rose Rutledge, senior third baseman, Annie Peccia, and outfielders Maggie DeWall and Whitney Olsen. Not one of the four players committed an error, and all batted .500 or better led by Olsen, who hit .600 with three steals and three RBIs.

Rutledge batted .588 (10-for-17) with a double, home run, four RBIs and three runs. She had a slugging percentage of .824 and has hit in the last eight games. Peccia led the team with 11 hits and six runs, batting .579, and DeWall hit .500 with a homer, a triple and six RBIs.

As a team, Portland State batted .401, scored 40 runs and banged out 59 hits. The Viks’ on-base percentage was .460 and they hit at lease one home run in every game, including two grand slams.

In last Sunday’s game against New Mexico State, senior Erin Stokey crushed a three-run homer – her team leading third of the season. Junior Rose Rutledge singled home Peccia, who had tripled one batter prior. Sophomore right-hander, Michelee Hext (4-2) picked up her third win of the weekend. Hext hurled five innings of two-hit ball and allowed one unearned run.

“What a great day for the Vikings,” said head coach Teri Mariani, who on Saturday became the winningest coach ever in any sport at PSU. “We had a lot of firsts as a Division I program this weekend.”

Peccia led the Vikings with four hits, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Rutledge made it her eighth game in a row with a team-high hitting streak, by means of a 2-for-4 day.

The Vikings have two weeks off before traveling to the Worth Invitational in Fullerton, California on March 5. The ladies have definitely started out well and hope to continue on this stream throughout the season. PSU opens the tournament against two top 25 teams, California and Cal State Fullerton. Four of PSU’s five opponents at the three-day tournament are currently ranked in the top 25, including No. 3 California.