Ducks rally to clinch World Series berth

AUSTIN, Texas — Down a run and playing on foreign turf, the prospect of clinching a College World Series berth, let alone notching the first Super Regional win in school history, looked like a long shot for the University of Oregon softball team.

The 11th-seeded Ducks, however, would not be denied, rallying for a 5-4 win over No. 6-seed Texas in Game 2, then pounding the Longhorns 10-6 in the third and decisive game on Saturday.

Oregon (44-16) advances to the College World Series for just the second time in program history and the first since 1989. The Ducks will play Pac-12 Conference foe and No. 3 seed Arizona State on May 31 in the double-elimination tournament.

The victories erased the frustration of 0-2 records put up by Oregon in its two previous trips.

"We tried to come out and get on top early to put pressure on them," Oregon head coach Mike White said, "and it worked. My hat's off to our pitcher Jess(ica) Moore. She really worked extremely hard. I know she's going to be tired. It's been a long two or three weeks for her since she's pitched every game pretty much in the Regionals."

In the circle, the Duck junior Moore (32-13) staked complete games in both outings and has pitched every inning of the postseason except one. With her eight strikeouts combined Saturday, the Sutter, Calif., native now has 244 on the season, and bettered her previous school record for strikeouts from her freshman campaign (238).

"I knew I needed to be stronger than I was yesterday," Moore said, "and the team picked me up hugely today. It was awesome going out there and pitching with a lead all day."

In the 10-6 finale, the Ducks racked up six runs in the second inning, then added four more runs in the fourth, while Texas (47-13) scored three of its runs in the fourth inning, and three more in the seventh.

In the second inning, Oregon's first run came after the first three batters reached. Christie Nieto was hit by a pitch, Alexa Peterson doubled and Jessica Moore had an RBI fielder's choice.

Senior Lindsey Chambers added the next run on a sacrifice fly, and freshman Janie Takeda followed with a double that knocked in another runner on a fielding error by the center fielder.

Junior Samantha Pappas added an RBI single to right field for another RBI, advanced to second on the throw, stole third base, then scored on an RBI single by Kaylan Howard to third base.

Senior Kelsey Chambers added the inning's final run on a double to right center field.

In the fourth inning, Takeda scored on Pappas' ninth homer of the season.

Howard followed with her team-leading second triple of the year, and 10th single by Kelsey Chambers. Senior Christie Nieto walked, and the two runners advanced on stolen bases to second and third base. Moore added another RBI on a single to right field.

At the plate for Oregon, four players had multiple hits — Pappas (2-for-4, 3 RBIs, HR), Howard (2-for-4, 1 RBIs), Kelsey Chambers (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) and Peterson (2-for-4) — while Moore (1-for-3) had a season-high 2 RBIs.

Combining for 11 hits and 10 runs, the Ducks forced the Longhorns to use three pitchers for the third time this season.

Junior starter and All-Big 12 pick Blaire Luna struck out two, walked none, allowed three hits, and her five runs allowed were earned.

Rachel Fox followed and pitched the next 11/3 innings, giving up five hits, and all three of her runs allowed were earned.

Kim Bruins pitched the final 22/3 innings, allowing two runs.

The Longhorns scored three runs in the fourth to get within 6-3 before Oregon pushed the lead back to 10-3.

Texas added three runs in the seventh on solo homers by Hoagland, Bennett and Craig.

Looking ahead, Oregon and the other seven Super Regional winners will play in the College World Series from May 31 through June 6.

Oregon split the season series with Arizona State.

Share This Story