SoftballSports

Oregon softball sweeps Sunday doubleheader to finish 5-0 in Oregon Invitational



On Thursday, Oregon’s game versus Toledo was cancelled due to rain.

The No. 6 Ducks didn’t have to wait much longer for game action, though.

Playing five games within 48 hours, Oregon looked alive and well versus the opponents they welcomed to Eugene for the Oregon Invitational. That was especially the case on Sunday, in which offensive fireworks and lights-out pitching led the Ducks to a pair of victories over Montana and Bryant.

Game 1: No. 6 Oregon 7, Montana 0

Miranda Elish has been nothing short of dominant in her sophomore campaign with the Ducks.

That continued on Saturday at Jane Sanders Stadium. Going up against Montana, Elish put together one of her strongest outings of the 2018 season, throwing a one-hit complete game that featured 11 strikeouts to lead the Ducks to a 7-0 win, one day after her 12-strikeout performance in a 12-2 win over Weber State.

“My team played really great behind me,” Elish said. “You just have to really pitch every pitch with intent and purpose.”

Elish looked to be making a run towards her second career no-hitter, but a two-out single from Ashlyn Lyons in the top of the fourth spoiled that chance. That, and a Tori Lettus walk in the fifth inning, was all the offense the Grizzlies would muster together.

A pair of singles from Haley Cruse and Alexis Mack in the third set the stage for Shannon Rhodes, who drove in both Cruse and Mack with a 2-RBI single to give Oregon a 2-0 lead.

It was a new inning, but same story in the bottom half of the fifth. A Cruse single, Jenna Lilley walk and Mack single loaded the bases for Rhodes. The sophomore delivered again, bringing home Cruse and Lilley with her second 2-RBI single in as many at-bats to double Oregon’s lead to 4-0.

The Ducks tacked on three more runs in the fifth inning to go up 7-0.

Game 2: No. 6 Oregon 17, Bryant 1 

The sun showed up for the back-end of Sunday’s doubleheader, and so did the Ducks’ bats.

A 13-run second inning carried Oregon to a run-rule, 17-1 win over Bryant in the team’s final game before Pac-12 play kicks off on Friday versus UCLA.

“Offensively, we had some people swing the bat pretty well,” head coach Mike White said. “You want some good feelings going into next weekend. Obviously we’re facing one of the best teams in the country.”

Cherish Burks entered Sunday’s game with only five plate appearances on the season. She had made them count, hitting two home runs with six RBIs. She got her first start on Sunday.

With two on in the second, Burks launched her third home run of the season to put the Ducks up 5-0. The Ducks batted around in the inning, and Burks stayed hot, ripping a two-RBI double to left-center.

“The more live pitching you see, the better,” Burks said. “Whoever’s name is called, just going up and being able to produce. That’s the best thing, our ultimate goal.”

Burks’ teammates joined in on the fun in the second inning onslaught. Bowden cleared the bases with a double, Lilley singled home Burks, and Svekis drove in Lilley with an RBI single. Three more runs were brought in by way of a walk or hit by pitch.

Maggie Balint went 3.1 innings in the circle, giving up only one hit and one run. With the Ducks holding a 15-0 lead, White took out Balint and brought in freshman Olivia Kinsey, who threw 1.2 shutout innings in her second appearance of the season.

Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @ckundich


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Cole Kundich

Cole Kundich