Vikings head to Seattle for Husky Softball Classic

Portland State softball heads north this weekend to wrap up preseason tournament play with three games over two days at the Husky Softball Classic in Seattle.

Portland State softball heads north this weekend to wrap up preseason tournament play with three games over two days at the Husky Softball Classic in Seattle.

The Vikings (11-7) take the field Saturday morning against Oregon State (7-7) before wrapping up the day with an afternoon meeting with Seattle (1-15). On Sunday afternoon, Portland State takes on event-host Washington (16-0) to cap the 10-game tournament.

Led by senior Nichole Latham, the Pacific Coast Softball Conference’s Mountain Division Pitcher of the Week for three weeks running, the Vikings enter the Husky Classic riding a two-game winning streak.

At last weekend’s Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., the Vikings won three of their five games. PSU opened the event with an 8-0 loss in five innings to fourth-ranked Arizona (20-2) on Friday before run-ruling Idaho State (4-9) with an identical score on a Latham one-hitter later that evening.

“It was nice how we bounced back against Idaho State,” head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said in a media statement. “We hit well and executed, and Nichole pitched an excellent game.”

The Vikings again split victories on Saturday. PSU opened the day with a 2-0 loss to Minnesota (12-7) in a pitching duel that featured just nine hits, then defeated UC Riverside, 8-6, in a hitter’s game that had the Vikings recording a season-high 14 hits. With the loss, the Highlanders fell to 4-14 on the season.

One of those hits was a two-run home run that came off the bat of junior first baseman Karmen Holladay in PSU’s three-run fourth inning, marking her first long ball of the season. The Vikings also racked up the score in the sixth inning, where they added five runs off RBIs from Carly McEachran, Lacey Holm, Danielle Lynn and a UC Riverside fielding error.

“It was nice to have Karmen [Holladay] set the tone with her home run early in the game,” Echo-Hawk said. “Carly [McEachran] played outstanding defense and made a spectacular play in the seventh; it was one of the better defensive plays I’ve ever seen. In the first game, Nichole pitched a good game, but we just didn’t get the bats going until it was too late.”

On Sunday, Portland State closed out their portion of the Wildcat Invitational with an extra-inning battle with Utah State (3-12) that ended in a 5-2 victory for the Vikings. Latham continued her hot streak in the pitching circle and held the Aggies to just four hits in eight innings, and Lynn—on career-best six-game hitting streak—drove in two of the three runs in the top half of the extra inning.

With Latham earning her third consecutive Pitcher of the Week honor on Monday, the Vikings have now swept all four pitching honors this season. Sophomore Anna Bertrand, last season’s Pitcher of the Year, was selected as the opening week’s honoree.

Latham went 2-1 with a 0.35 ERA over the weekend to improve her record to 6-4 on the season. She now has a 1.40 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 65 innings of work. Bertrand went 1-1 over the weekend to improve her season record to 5-3.

At last year’s Husky Classic, PSU earned one victory in four contests. The Vikings split wins in a pair of games with Miami (Ohio) before losing to then-No. 1 Washington and Seattle. Later in the season, the Vikings went on to drop both games of a doubleheader when the Huskies came to Erv Lind Stadium in March.

Portland State lost each of last season’s three meetings with Oregon State, but went on to end the regular season with four wins over Seattle in a pair of back-to-back doubleheader victories that earned the Vikings the PCSC’s Mountain Division title and a trip to the first-ever PCSC Championship Series.

Junior catcher Lacey Holm leads the Viking sluggers with a .435 batting average and 16 RBIs, and she and teammate Sadie Lopez are tied with two home runs each. Junior outfielder Jenna Krogh, who entered last week’s slate of games with a 10-game hitting streak, had her streak come to an end during Friday’s loss to Arizona.

Live stats of this weekend’s games will be available at ?