Softball’s dominant pitching fuels doubleheader sweep of South Florida

The No. 6 Oregon Ducks defense shut down University of Southern Florida on Thursday night’s doubleheader matchup in Tampa, Florida. Oregon softball, now 14-3, won the first game 6-1 and the second game 8-0 in just five innings.

Megan Kleist and Miranda Elish pitched for the entirety of their games. For the first matchup, Kleist was her usual self, shutting down batters with ease. At one point she retired 13 straight batters. She allowed two hits and struck out ten in seven innings of play.

Oregon gave a balanced effort on offense against USF. Senior Jenna Lilley, continuing her outstanding play this season, started the game with a double and Shannon Rhodes immediately drove her in.

In the second game, Elish maintained her perfect career record, now 18-0. The sophomore now leads the team with six wins on the season. She had a come great offense behind her that capitalized on multiple errors by USF, which had three errors for the game.

The Ducks used small-ball to gain their first few runs in the fourth inning. Jenna Lilley singled to right and Oregon scored on an error. Alexis Mack singled right after that to make the score 3-0.

Then the power hitters arrived in the fifth inning. Gwen Svekis hit a solo home run, her sixth of the year. DJ Sanders followed her at-bat with a double. Later in the inning, Cherish Burks launched a three-run homer to cap a five-run inning.

“When you come into the postseason, you’re going to have to do that. … Traditionally we have been very good at it,” coach Mike White told the media before heading to Florida. “Sometimes you’re just not going to hit the home run. …But there’s no reason we can’t get bunts down,”

Fortunately, Oregon is proving it is proficient in both of those offensive statistics.

The team will stay in Florida and drive to Tallahassee, home of the No. 13 Florida State Seminoles for the annual Unconquered Invitational. The first game against FSU will be 12 p.m. on Friday.

Follow August Howell @howell_august

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August Howell

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