Carlson Homers Cap Friday Sweep

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Freshman Taylour Spencer pitched the Ducks out of a tight spot in Friday’s first game against Kansas, while Ariel Carlson launched a pair of home runs in the nightcap versus Liberty as No. 15 Oregon collected its first two wins of the 2024 season.

Following a disappointing 7-5 loss to Indiana in the 2024 season opener, the Ducks (2-1) bounced back with a 5-3 decision against Kansas and an 8-0 run-rule victory over Liberty on day two of the NFCA Leadoff Classic, being played at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.

“After the game yesterday, we knew that we had the energy,” said Carlson. “We had the belief in each other. Our team chemistry is at an all-time high, so we just needed to clean some things up. The potential we have on this team is limitless.

“We knew we had all the tools and it was just a matter of getting them all working together and we were able to do that today,” she said.

Oregon 5, Kansas 3

How it Happened: Spencer came on in relief of starter Raegan Breedlove with two outs in the top of the second and inherited runners on second and third. Spencer went to a full count on Kansas’ Angela Price before getting her to fly out to Carlson in right.

The Duck offense then worked some two-out magic to take the lead in the bottom of the second. Vallery Wong reached on a single and Paige Sinicki chased her to third by dropping a double down the right field line. Kai Luschar then beat out an infield single to score Wong.

It remained 1-0 until the fifth when Oregon scored three times. Luschar led off the inning with a single to center and promptly stole second base. Hanna Delgado followed with another single to move Luschar to third. Delgado advanced to second on the throw to third. Emma Kauf drove in Luschar who beat the throw home from the infield. Delgado went to third and Kauf went to second on the play. The Ducks then scored twice on sacrifice flies. Carlson flew out to deep left field to plate Delgado and move Kauf to third. Alyssa Daniell then lined out to left, but Kauf was able to beat the throw home for a 4-0 Oregon lead.

Oregon put together another rally to score once more in the sixth. Wong singled and Regan Legg pinch ran. Sinicki singled through the right side, allowing Legg to advance to third. She came home on Luschar’s RBI ground out.

The Jayhawks (0-1) scored three runs in the top of the seventh, including a two-out, two-run home run by Lyric Moore off reliever Morgan Scott, but Scott got Olivia Bruno to foul out to the catcher – Kauf – to end the game.

Spencer went 4.1 innings in relief and allowed one run on five hits to earn her first win as a Duck.

Luschar went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases against Kansas. Sinicki and Wong both went 2-for-3.

Oregon 8, Liberty 0 (5 innings)

How it Happened: Carlson led the charge in the Ducks’ six-run second inning and Scott threw a two-hit shutout.

Scott (1-0) allowed hits to the first two batters she face and then proceed to retire the next 12 batters in a row. She hit the leadoff batter in the fifth with a pitch, but the runner was erased on an around-the-horn double play. Scott then retired KK Madrey on a grounder to first to end the fifth.

In addition to the six-run second, the Ducks scored single runs in the first and fifth innings.

In the first, Kauf had a one-out single and came around to score on Daniell’s double to right center.

The Ducks scored six times in the second on four hits and took advantage of some wildness on Liberty’s part. Delgado led off with a triple and scored on Tehya Bird’s single. Katie Flannery was then hit by a pitch before both runners moved up a base after a wild pitch. KK Humphreys then delivered a single to score both runners to make it 4-0.

Humphreys advanced to second on a Liberty error following her hit and moved to third on a wild pitch. Following an out, Luschar walked and then Humphreys scored on a wild pitch.

Carlson capped the inning with her first home run of the season, a two-run shot to center field that made it 7-0.

The score remained 7-0 until the bottom of the fifth when Carlson launched her second homer of the game, this one to left field, to end the game via the run-rule. The celebration at home plate was reminiscent of Carlson’s walk-off grand slam in the NCAA Regional last season at Arkansas.

“Those kind of games happen because you’re out there having a lot of fun,” said Carlson, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI against the Flames. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without the girls around me. They were so hyped going in the final inning.

“I was swinging hard yesterday and I didn’t want to change anything,” she said. “I wanted to keep swinging hard so that’s exactly what I did.”


P Taylour Spencer on the defense making plays behind her

“It gives me so much excitement. I’m usually a pretty pumped up pitcher and so when I see that I get super-energetic and I get to yell and everything. So seeing that makes me real happy and want to keep working hard for them.”

Noteworthy: Oregon defeated Kansas at this tournament in 2019 to give Lombardi her first career coaching victory … The Ducks now lead the all-time series with the Jayhawks, 10-3 … Through three games, Sinicki leads the team with a .571 average … Carlson and Daniell share the team lead with four RBI, while Luschar has three … Luschar also has four stolen bases in three games … Freshmen Ayanna Shaw, Legg and Flannery saw their first action in an Oregon uniform on Friday with Flannery making a start at designated player against the Flames … This was the first softball meeting between Oregon and Liberty … The Ducks and Flames recently clashed in the 2024 Fiesta Bowl which Oregon won 45-6 … The Flames were the second of three 2023 NCAA Tournament teams the Ducks will face this weekend (Indiana, Clemson).

On Deck: Oregon will play two more games Saturday at the NFCA Leadoff Classic – Missouri State at 10 a.m. Pacific (GameChanger App) and No. 5 Clemson at 4 p.m. The game with the Tigers will be part of the first softball games to be broadcast live on MLB Network. The contest with Missouri State will be the first game between the two schools since an elimination game in the 1980 AIAW World Series (Ducks 2, Bears 1).

– –