CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A three-run fifth inning lifted Oregon State to another upset win against No. 7 Arizona State, 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at OSU Softball Complex in Corvallis. The victory gave the Beavers their first series win against the Sun Devils since 2010, and their first series victory against a top-10 team since taking a pair from No. 9 Washington in 2012.
“This was a fantastic series for us,” said head coach Laura Berg. “To do what we did against a team that’s ranked so highly gives us a lot of confidence. It shows that we can compete with anybody; ranked or unranked, it doesn’t matter.”
Kori Nishitomi recorded the 18th four-hit performance in Oregon State (11-14, 2-1 Pac-12) history, going 4-for-4 with a triple, a steal, an RBI and a run.
“She was just on fire today,” said Berg. “Against a pitcher that throws hard like (Arizona State starter Dallas) Escobedo you just have to put the barrel where it needs to be, and she did that. Kori fights hard and she gives you everything she’s got. It was fun to watch.”
Senior pitcher Amanda Najdek threw a complete game to get her second win against Arizona State (27-5, 1-2) in the series. She allowed just the lone run on seven hits. Senior Isabelle Batayola tallied a hit and a run in the winning effort, while freshman Alexis Gonzalez finished with a hit and a walk.
After falling behind by one in the third inning, the Beavers surged back to take the lead in the fifth. The rally started with an infield single from Batayola, before freshman Amee Aarhus reached on an error. Nishitomi proceeded to bring Batayola home with an RBI single to tie the game. The Beavers took the lead on a sacrifice fly to left from junior Dani Gilmore, as Aarhus came home. Junior CJ Chirichigno came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, as the Beavers looked to extend their lead. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Chirichigno proceeded to foul off five consecutive pitches, before being hit by a pitch to plate Nishitomi, stretching the advantage to 3-1.
It looked as though the Sun Devils might be able to start a rally in the bottom of the seventh, but Aarhus stole a hit from Chelsea Gonzales by making a sprawling play on a grounder down the third-base line, before firing the ball to first to record the first out of the inning. Najdek came through for the final two outs, and the Beavers took the game and the series.
“Amanda threw gems in both games this weekend,” said Berg. “We were told by some opposing teams before the season that she would beat some really good teams this year, and that’s exactly what she did.”
Arizona State pitcher Dallas Escobedo, who was coming off a week that saw her receive NFCA and Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, lost to the Beavers for the second time over the course of the weekend. Coming into the series, Escobedo had only lost twice on the season in 14 starts.