|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • COLLEGE SOFTBALL

    Becker delivers for Cards

    Ex-North Medford standout tosses first collegiate no-hitter for Louisville
  • Maryssa Becker spent the better part of the last two years waiting for her chance to join the University of Louisville softball program.
    • email print
    • MARYSSA BECKER
      WHO: A freshman right-handed pitcher and first baseman for the University of Louisville softball team.
      • WHAT: Becker struck out five and faced 23 batters in pitching a no-hitter Wednesday...
      » Read more
      X
      MARYSSA BECKER
      WHO: A freshman right-handed pitcher and first baseman for the University of Louisville softball team.

      • WHAT: Becker struck out five and faced 23 batters in pitching a no-hitter Wednesday against Western Kentucky for a 3-0 victory that raised her season record to 5-1 with a 1.66 ERA. The two-time Gatorade Oregon softball player of the year from North Medford also ranks second on the team with a .362 batting average to go with 13 RBIs and seven runs scored for the 16-10 Cardinals.
      • QUOTE: "It's really special to me to see everything kind of come together (for the no-hitter). ... It's going to be a pretty special memory for a while."
  • Maryssa Becker spent the better part of the last two years waiting for her chance to join the University of Louisville softball program.
    Now that the former North Medford High standout is there, she's wasting little time at making herself at home on the diamond for the Cardinals.
    Becker put an exclamation mark on an already stellar start to her collegiate career on Wednesday when she tossed a no-hitter for a 3-0 victory over Western Kentucky, then came back to earn the save in another hitless outing in a 7-4 nightcap for Louisville.
    The no-hitter was the first for Louisville since Tori Collins secured one against Longwood University on April 15, 2012.
    "It was a really good day," the 19-year-old Becker said upon returning from the road trip. "Things were just feeling good and obviously my wonderful defense behind me made a bunch of plays as well. It was just an all-around good day for everyone I think."
    With the win, Becker improved her team-best marks to 5-1 inside the circle with a 1.66 ERA. In 542/3 innings pitched, the 6-foot right-hander has struck out 57 and walked 18 to limit teams to a .189 batting average against her.
    With two runners on in Game 2 against Western Kentucky, Becker came on in relief and induced a groundout before getting a game-ending strikeout to preserve her team's 7-4 advantage. It was the freshman's third save and allowed Louisville to improve its overall record to 16-10.
    Becker, who plays first base when not pitching, also added an RBI single in the nightcap and ranks second on the team with a .362 batting average to go with 13 RBIs and seven runs scored. She has been in the starting lineup in 17 of her 18 games played and has six doubles and one home run for a .553 slugging percentage.
    Brimming with talent, evident by her back-to-back honors as Gatorade's Oregon softball player of the year, Becker still wasn't taking anything for granted as she embarked on her first season beyond the high school level. With continued hard work and a family atmosphere at Louisville, she said the transition has been seamless.
    "It's been a pretty amazing couple of months so far," she said. "Each and every person on this team is working as hard as you are and pushing you to be better and holding each other accountable and it's just so amazing to be part of something like this."
    "I definitely didn't expect the outcome that has happened so far," added Becker, "but things have been going pretty well and just seeing all of our hard work pay off from the fall and all that buildup is just reassuring and kind of gives me confidence in knowing that whatever situation we're put in we should be able to get the job done."
    Becker certainly got the job done Wednesday against Western Kentucky, striking out five against three walks during the no-hitter. She faced 23 batters in her seven innings — the final out was secured when a runner was caught stealing second base — and threw 50 of her 88 pitches for strikes.
    "I definitely felt in control early and all my pitches were working and doing what I wanted them to," said Becker, who now hasn't allowed a hit in her last 15 innings. "It was just a matter of keeping that consistent throughout the whole game. I knew that if I kept doing what I was doing, they were going to have a hard time hitting today, especially with the way my defense was playing."
    When the final out was registered, Becker said she took great pride in the smiles on the faces of her coaches and teammates in what she hopes will be the first of many no-hitters at Louisville.
    She was also pleased that she didn't let the opportunity to reach the milestone slip away.
    "It's really special to me to see everything kind of come together (for the no-hitter)," she said. "There's been games where you give up one hit or one walk to finish shy of a perfect game or a no-hitter so it doesn't really count because you're short. But to actually have the no-hitter was pretty amazing. I definitely couldn't have done it without my team. It's going to be a pretty special memory for a while."
    As with all her past accolades, including two state championships at North Medford and a host of no-hitters during her prep career, Becker said she's making sure to let it all soak in as she cherishes the moments doing what she loves to do.
    "It's just such a blessing to have this opportunity because I know 80-90 percent of the girls out there playing would love to be in this spot but aren't able to have the opportunity I've gotten," she said. "I'm just thankful each day to be able to come out and work my hardest to just not give up any opportunities because I know even at this point I'm limited in how much more time I have on the softball field."
    While the Cardinals expect to enjoy another 31/2 years of Becker in the lineup, where Becker said her time is most limited has been in the classroom. The pre-med major was a leader in the classroom with the Black Tornado but has had to learn to adjust to the schedule issues created when her collegiate team hits the road to play.
    "I now know what it is like to be a kid who skips school," Becker said with a laugh. "Before I would miss one or two classes if I had to travel to Roseburg or somewhere, but now I'm missing two or three days a week sometimes due to our traveling."
    As a result, Becker said, "Things kind of jump up on me a little bit faster now. I swear my professors get together and say, 'OK, she's going to be at her busiest this week so we're all going to have exams this week.' Things definitely come in waves but that's just kind of the way it goes."
    The Cardinals return to the diamond this weekend for a three-game home series against Rutgers that begins Saturday.
    Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry
Reader Reaction
      • calendar