Back-And-Forth Slugfest Goes to OSU

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon will enter May still alive to finish above .500 on the season but needing to regain momentum after losing Sunday to Oregon State, 12-8, as the Beavers completed a series sweep before 2,176 fans in Jane Sanders Stadium.

The Ducks fell to 21-25 overall and 4-14 in Pac-12 play entering the final two weekends of conference play, at Utah and then at home against Arizona State. A record of .500 or better would keep the UO softball team in contention for a postseason berth, although after being swept by OSU, the Ducks have simpler goals in mind.

“I thought their fight was tremendous tonight; I’m very proud of their fight, and how they want after it,” UO coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “We fought to the end. We expected to win right to the end. What got us was miscues; too many miscues, too many errors. …

“What I want to see is the fight we had here, to take that into the next two weekends — which I know we will. And from there, continue on. But we need to clean some things up.”

How It Happened: After OSU scored in the top of the first, the Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning when Haley Cruse scored on a sacrifice fly by Shaye Bowden, and Allee Bunker came home on a wild pitch. Oregon went up 3-1 in the second, when Cherish Burks walked and eventually stole home, after Cruse broke from first to cause a rundown that gave Burks time to score.

Misfortune struck the Ducks in the top of the third. After a leadoff single, Shelby Weeks lofted a high flyball into that outfield that caught a jetstream blowing out to right-center field and barely cleared the fence for a two-run home run. After a single and a hit batter put two more runners on, back-to-back errors in the UO outfield turned it into a five-run inning, giving the Beavers a 6-4 lead.
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After Rachel Cid homered in the fourth, Oregon regained the lead in the fifth on a home run by Hannah Galey and a two-out, two-run single by Bowden, the sort of clutch hit the Ducks had failed to produce earlier in the series. They got another in the sixth, after OSU had tied the score 7-7, when Cruse singled home Galey with two out for an 8-7 lead.

But the wind blowing out to right-center smiled upon Weeks again, as she followed back-to-back doubles with one out in the sixth by lofting another pop-up into the breeze, which again cleared the fence for a two-run home run, and a 10-8 lead for OSU. The Beavers tacked on two more unearned runs in the seventh of UO relievers Kailey Krueger and Cid.

At The Plate: Cruse had two hits for the second day in a row, raising her average for the season to a team-leading .355. She also had one of Oregon’s two hits with a runner in scoring position, though the Ducks finished the series just 4-for-33 in that situation, stranding 26 total runners in the three games. OSU went 11-for-35 with runners in scoring position.

In The Circle: Jordan Dail continued to do yeoman’s work for Oregon, starting for the fifth time in six days and pitching into the sixth inning. She allowed 10 runs — seven earned — on 10 hits with no walks, striking out two. Cid allowed an unearned run in the seventh, retiring eight hitters in relief over the weekend without allowing an earned run.