TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Oregon State University softball team had its season come to a close on Sunday in the Tuscaloosa Regional Championship, dropping a 6-0 decision to No. 12 Alabama at Rhoads Stadium.
The Beavers finished the season with a 30-28 overall record and advanced to the championship game of the regional for the first time under the direction of head coach Laura Berg.
Meehra Nelson (16-11) started in the circle for the Beavers, tossing five innings with one strikeout, while Mariah Mazon pitched two innings of relief with one strikeout. Freshman Hope Brandner was the only OSU player to register a hit.
Alabama jumped on top in the first inning with a two-run double, and added two runs in the fifth and sixth innings for the final score of 6-0.
The Beavers hadn’t been in the championship of a regional since Berg was an assistant coach in 2012.
OSU attained its highest ever RPI ranking this season, vaulting up to No. 15 halfway through the season. The Beavers were ranked for four weeks as high as No. 24 and received votes in at least one of the polls every week once the season started.
Oregon State was ranked No. 1 for strength of schedule for a few weeks down the backstretch of the season, and finished the regular season with the No. 3 toughest schedule.
USC 8, OSU 0: At Los Angeles, second-ranked Oregon State lost the series finale.
Despite the loss, the Beavers (42-9-1 overall, 18-8-1 Pac-12 Conference) won the series.
Oregon State managed four hits off USC starter Solomon Bates, who walked four and struck out eight to pick up his fifth win of the season. Two of the four hits were doubles — by Joe Casey and Adley Rutschman — but the Beavers stranded five in seven innings versus the right-hander.
Kevin Abel made his fourth start of the season, and allowed five hits and three runs — two earned — in 4?1/3 innings. The freshman struck out four but was charged with the loss, dropping to 3-1 on the year.
Rutschman also singled in the ninth for a two-hit afternoon.
USC scored three in the fifth via two singles, and then three more in the sixth, highlighted by a two-run home run from Blake Sabol to make it 6-0 Trojans. Sabol followed that up with another two-run home run in the eighth for the 8-0 final.
Cadyn Grenier saw his 27-game hit streak snapped in Sunday’s loss. He walked in the eighth but otherwise went 0-for-3.
The junior was 46-for-117 (.393) with 10 doubles, one triple, three home runs and 28 RBI. The 27 games was just four shy of Jeff Brauning’s school-record 31 games consecutive games in 1989.
Oregon State returns home for the final regular season series of the season Thursday with UCLA.
UCLA 10, OREGON 2: At Los Angeles, Oregon allowed six runs in the second inning as No. 17 UCLA swept the Pac-12 Conference series.
UCLA (35-17, 18-9 Pac-12) jumped on Oregon starter Kolby Somers (2-7) for six runs in the bottom of the second.
Garrett Mitchell drove in the first run with an RBI single before Ryan Kreidler delivered a sacrifice fly. Jeremy Ydens tripled home three runs to make it 5-0 and Kevin Kendall made it 6-0 with a sacrifice fly.
The Bruins added a single run in the fourth to make it 7-0. Daniel Rosica scored Mitchell, who led off the inning with a triple, with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Jonny DeLuca got the Ducks (25-27, 11-16 Pac-12) on the board in the top of the sixth with a run-scoring single up the middle, scoring Spencer Steer to make it 7-1. UCLA answered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs, stretching the lead to 9-1.
Jakob Goldfarb added another run for the Ducks in the seventh on an RBI single, scoring Taylor Travess. The Bruins responded with a single run in the home half of the frame to make it 10-2.
Oregon’s Kyle Kasser drew his 79th career walk and is now tied with Aaron Payne (2011-14) for fifth on the Oregon career list.
The Ducks will return home to close the regular season against Arizona Thursday through Saturday.