Ducks start season strong with 4-2 showing in Tempe

Tristan Coolen

The Oregon women’s softball team concluded its first tournament of the season on a winning note as it defeated Cal State Northridge 3-2 in the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon at the Kajikawa Classic.

The Ducks completed their trip to Tempe, Ariz., with a 4-2 record overall and got some outstanding pitching from junior left hander Brittany Rumfelt.

“I was happy that we came away with four wins against some quality teams,” Oregon head coach Mike White said. “We bounced back from two tough losses, so it was good that we showed we can do the same to other teams.”

Rumfelt picked up both wins on Sunday for Oregon after pitching two additional innings of relief work against Cal State Northridge. During that appearance she struck out one, walked one and allowed only one hit and one unearned run — the only run she gave up all weekend — in the extra inning.

Though she only started one game, Rumfelt pitched nine innings, striking out 11, walking one and giving up just three hits. In her first two years of action at Oregon, she tallied an 8-14 record in 44 appearances, with nine complete games and 102 strikeouts. Rumfelt figures to see plenty of action on the mound this year as the most experienced pitcher on the staff and the Ducks’ only lefty.

Oregon kicked off the weekend with two big wins over Notre Dame and Creighton on Friday afternoon. The Ducks got a pair of home runs by sophomore twin infielders Kelsey and Lindsey Chambers to beat out the Irish 4-1 in the tournament opener. Sophomore ace
Samantha Skillingstad tied her career high in strikeouts with 10 and gave up no walks in the winning effort.

“The offense and defense really did their part and helped us get off to a good start,” Skillingstad said. “You’re always a little nervous getting started the first game of the year, but my stuff was pretty good, and we got a win against a good team.”

Freshman pitcher Jessica Moore followed that outing with a dominant one of her own as the Ducks cruised past Creighton 8-2 to end the first day. Moore’s 12 strikeouts were the third most in a single game for Oregon, and she retired 20 of the last 21 batters she faced. Lindsey Chambers homered for the second time that day, and senior center fielder Neena Bryant tacked on her first home run of the season.

The Ducks dropped a pair of games to San Diego State and Texas Tech on Saturday. Both games were decided by a score of 4-3. But the resilient Oregon squad bounced back on the final day to pick up another pair of wins. Prior to the Cal State Northridge win, the Ducks defeated Western Michigan 4-0. Freshman right fielder Samantha Pappas continued to shine at the plate, as she concluded the weekend with a team-high three home runs and four RBIs.

The Ducks will next be in action on Thursday when they travel to Las Vegas for the  Louisville Slugger Classic.

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