Shannon Rhodes powers Ducks to 7-0 win and series sweep over Beavers
Make it 15.
Oregon softball extended its winning streak against in-state rival Oregon State on Sunday to 15 games after three more weekend wins at Jane Sanders Stadium. The Ducks completed the sweep with a strong offensive showing. Shannon Rhodes recorded five RBIs while Megan Kleist pitched a complete game. She only allowed one hit.
“We try not to overthink it,” head coach Mike White said. “We just want to play good softball and we have a lot to play for as far as postseason.”
Kleist, back in the circle after Oregon’s Friday win, allowed just one hit, one walk while striking out six Beavers.
“I kind of had to feel my way a little bit,” Kleist said. “I didn’t have too good of a bullpen warm up. It’s always kind of scary as a pitcher when you come out there.”
Oregon took care of business early, getting Alexis Mack and Gwen Svekis on base to set up Rhodes for a three-run home run to center field. The homer was Rhodes’ sixth of the year.
“We’re starting to hit the ball pretty well,” White said. “You can see how hot Shannon Rhodes is right now and Gwen Svekis and we’re doing some things right.”
The Ducks and Beavers both went scoreless in the second but Oregon managed to score a run without earning a hit in the third. Svekis scored from third after Oregon State tried to catch Rhodes stealing second.
In the fifth — with Mack on third and Nikki Udria at second — it was Rhodes once again with a run-scoring stroke of the bat. This time, the center fielder hit a single to clear the bases and increase Oregon’s lead to 6-0, ending the inning two runs shy of a run rule.
Though the bats came out Sunday, the defense was still an important piece to the puzzle for the Ducks. Oregon didn’t commit any errors — and had just one during the series.
“We’re also playing pretty good defensively,” White said. “Making some plays and, you know, when Megan Kleist throws like that. … Just a fantastic performance.”
In the sixth, Oregon looked poised to wrap up the series, getting runners on once again. The Ducks scored one run after an overthrown ball to first allowed Jenna Lilley, who was pinch-running for April Utecht, to score and make it 7-0.
Oregon State walked Svekis and Udria to load the bases for Rhodes. But Rhodes lined out to right field to send the game to the seventh inning instead of a run-rule win.
Kleist returned to the circle to finish the game, retiring the three batters in order.
Oregon now prepares for No. 2 Florida State next weekend in a highly-anticipated nonconference series at Jane Sanders Stadium.
“They’re very, very good people, so we’re excited to host them,” White said.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow
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