Vikings conclude dismal week on diamond

The Portland State softball team (18-32, 4-10 Western Athletic Conference) lost its eighth, ninth and 10th straight games in a tripleheader at No. 16 Fresno State on Saturday.

“It was one of the worst weekends I can recall in the whole history of the program,” said Portland State coach Teri Mariani.

PSU appeared to be playing over their heads in the first game on Saturday, as Viking pitcher Morgan Seibert had a two-hit shutout going into the bottom of the sixth. The Bulldogs rallied in that inning and scored four runs that the comatose Viking offense couldn’t answer. The game ended 4-0 Fresno State.

Seibert also pitched the second game, which was called in the fifth due to the eight-run mercy rule: 8-0 Bulldogs.

Nichole Ivie pitched the third game, but with no momentum and no run support, and the Vikings were doomed: 5-0 Bulldogs.

“Before, our defense has kept us in games. We couldn’t hit a lick, and that keeps you from winning, but our defense also broke down. The errors we made were throwing errors. Not especially hard-hit balls or something, but things we can control. We also made some key mental mistakes with base running. I told them it was an embarrassing performance,” Mariani said.

The Vikings had an altogether miserable week, failing to score a single run in six of seven games. Much of the Viking’s recent skid has been their inability to score runs, in spite of how well their pitching and defense has sometimes played.

“This weekend, it was the whole team that wasn’t right, not just one or two players,” Mariani said.

The 10-game losing streak is also due in part to the caliber of their opponents. Six of those losses have been against teams in the top 25.

However, Mariani said that the caliber of the opposition was not an excuse for the Vikings’ lack of offense.

“The teams really didn’t have dominant pitching. We should have been able to score some runs. The problem is that we just aren’t taking the same approach mentally at the plate that we are during practice,” Mariani said.

The Vikings faced WAC opponent Loyola Marymount on Friday in Los Angeles, losing both ends of a doubleheader.

Seibert pitched game one, and held the Lions to three runs, but the Viking offense, still fast asleep, stranded seven runners and failed to score a run. Portland State lost the game 3-0.

The Vikings had a 3-1 lead in the fourth in the second game, but an error in the fifth led to a tie score which the Lions broke in the sixth to take the game 4-3.”I told them that I didn’t want to see the team that played this weekend back next week,” Mariani said.

Tuesday, the Vikings played a doubleheader at home against nationally ranked Washington Huskies (No. 12). Seibert pitched game one and gave up six runs, four of them earned, while the Portland State bats were picked apart by the Huskies’ freshman ace, Tia Bollinger.

Bollinger pitched a one-hit shutout for her 27th victory of the season, 6-0.Game two featured even more Husky offense. Washington had 21 hits off starter Ivie in the game, which was called in the fifth, 12-0. The Vikings were able to manage two hits in game two.

Things won’t get much easier for the Vikings, as they next travel to Corvallis on Wednesday to face the No. 14 Oregon State Beavers.

“I told the girls they might be surprised to know we can still finish in third place in the WAC. We have to win out our conference schedule, which is two doubleheaders against Tulsa and closing out the season in San Jose. Those are all winnable games. We’re going to sit down and set some new goals for the next few weeks,” Mariani said.