SOFTBALL RECAP | Ducks Drop Opener

CLEARWATER, Fla. – No. 15 Oregon fell behind in the early innings, rallied to bring the tying run to the plate a number of times in the later innings, but ultimately fell to Indiana, 7-5, in the opening game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic Thursday at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.

How it Happened: The Hoosiers (1-0) scored five times in the first two innings, including a three-run home run from Brianna Copeland, who also pitched 5.1 innings in relief to earn the win.

Newcomer Emma Kauf got Oregon on the board with a line drive sacrifice fly that scored Kai Luschar in the bottom of the first. The Ducks then cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the second on Alyssa Daniell’s opposite field two-run home run.

Indiana plated two more runs on a two-out double by Taylor Minnick in the fourth inning, but again, Oregon battled back. In the bottom of the fourth, Vallery Wong reached third on her second career triple and then scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-4.

The Ducks were poised for a big inning in the bottom of the sixth when Daniell led off with a triple off the wall, and after Wong struck out, Paige Sinicki walked. Luschar came to the plate as the tying run and appeared to beat out a ball hit up the middle for an infield single, but she was called out. Daniell scored on the play to make it 7-5, but the Ducks were denied a two-on, one-out scenario. Hanna Delgado grounded out to second to end the threat.

Kauf led off the bottom the seventh with a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Ariel Carlson, KK Humphreys and pinch-hitter Kai Luschar all struck out to end the game.

Noteworthy: Daniell was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI … Freshman Taylour Spencer came out of the pen in the fifth and threw two scoreless innings, while Morgan Scott worked around a one-out double for a scoreless seventh … The only other career triple for both Wong and Daniell came against Ole Miss. Wong’s was last season, while Daniell hit hers in 2022 while at LMU … The Ducks started a lineup of all upperclassmen – three juniors, four seniors and three fifth years … The Hoosiers were the first of three 2023 NCAA Tournament teams the Ducks will face this weekend (Liberty, Clemson).

On Deck: Oregon will play two games Friday at the NFCA Leadoff Classic – Kansas at 2 p.m. Pacific and Liberty at 5 p.m. (GameChanger App).

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