Vikings take a beating

Nothing went as planned for the Portland State softball team in their four-game series against Pacific Coast Softball Conference foe St. Mary’s this past weekend.

Nothing went as planned for the Portland State softball team in their four-game series against Pacific Coast Softball Conference foe St. Mary’s this past weekend. Losing three of four games, the Vikings (18-26, 3-4 PCSC) were absolutely battered by the Gaels, giving up 11 runs and 15 hits in the weekend’s fourth and final matchup.

Coming into this weekend, Portland State appeared to have all the momentum in their meetings with St. Mary’s. Last season, the Vikings easily swept the Gaels. Before their most recent series, Portland State had defeated St. Mary’s 12 times in 16 match-ups. If this wasn’t enough of an indication of complete domination, the Vikings had reigned supreme in each of their first four PCSC series.

The tables turned immediately in this series as St. Mary’s shut out the Vikings 2-0, in game one. In an uncharacteristic performance, junior right-handed pitcher Mandy Hill allowed two runs on 11 hits, suffering her 15th loss on the year. Portland State had seven hits of their own, but squandered promising opportunities leaving 11 runners on base, including a third inning with the bases loaded.

If the first game was filled with missed opportunities, game two was about little opportunity. The Vikings only mustered three hits and never challenged, with freshman shortstop Ali Klemenok providing the lone run on an RBI single in the sixth inning.

Once again, the Gaels’ bats sprang alive, roughing freshman right-hander Janice Damo up for two runs on three hits in just three innings of work. Hill took the mound in the fourth and stifled the Gaels’ attack, holding it scoreless with three punch-outs in three innings. But without run support, the Vikings fell again, 2-1, giving St. Mary’s the doubleheader sweep.

As game three began, it looked like another day meant another, more fierce and competitive, Viking squad. Portland State finally began to swing the bats like the reigning conference champions, scoring six runs and blasting 11 hits. Junior left fielder Stephanie Bean smacked a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the first inning, her fourth jack of the season. Hill appropriately started the game on the hill, but it was her solo shot at the plate in the fifth inning that put this game out of reach. The homerun gives Hill 10 on the year.

The Vikings snapped their five-game losing streak, after dropping games against Oregon State and the University of Washington in the beginning of the week, with the 6-0 shutout win over St. Mary’s. The victory also gave Hill her 16th win of the season, improving her record to 16-15.

The final game of the series was an important one, because if the Vikings had won they could have returned home splitting the series and escaping their first ever PCSC series loss to St. Mary’s. With a lot on the line, it appeared the Vikings took an early flight back to Portland. The Vikings only had one hit, a one-out double by senior center fielder Kimi Daniel in the sixth inning, which ruined senior right-hander Kate Albuagh’s bid for a no-hitter.

Damo was pinned with the loss, allowing two runs on four hits and handing out three free passes in just over four innings on the bump. Hill relieved Damo in the fifth inning, but was unable to repeat her magic against the Gaels. In the final two innings, St. Mary’s turned the offensive dial to overdrive, collecting 12 hits that spawned 10 runs to secure an 11-1 win and three games-to-one series victory.

The Vikings will hit the diamond again on Wednesday for a non-conference tilt against the No. 10 Oregon Ducks at Howe Field in Eugene. Another road trip lays ahead of Portland State, as the Vikings are slated to face-off against fellow PCSC foe Loyola Marymount in a four-game series next Saturday and Sunday.