Miranda Elish throws perfect game to cap off doubleheader sweep versus Portland State
Tuesday was a productive day for many players on the Ducks.
For Miranda Elish, it was perfect.
In the back-end of Oregon’s doubleheader versus Portland State on Tuesday, Elish retired all 21 Vikings that stepped to the plate, recording the first perfect game of her collegiate career in a 3-0 Ducks win.
Elish struck out a career-high 16 batters in a performance that had her coaches, teammates and many in attendance at Jane Sanders Stadium buzzing following the third ever perfect game in the program’s history.
“It was really cool. It was really special,” Elish said. “On that last pitch when I had [Kaela Morrow] down 0-2, I was like, ‘You got this.'”
Elish surely had it on Tuesday. There’s dominant, and then there’s what the sophomore put together versus Portland State.
In the front-end of the doubleheader — an 8-2 Oregon win — the Vikings scored its two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Any momentum that Portland State may have hoped to take from the end of game one into the start of game two hit a brick wall when Elish stepped into the circle.
“Her ball was really moving. She was hitting locations in and out,” head coach Mike White said. “I wouldn’t want a bat in my hand against her tonight.”
Portland State concurs. Just putting the bat on the ball could be considered a win for any Vikings batter that stepped into the box. Elish struck out at least two batters in each of the seven innings, which included seven in a row and 10 of the last 11 batters she faced.
With Elish getting the number of swings and misses that she did, the Ducks defense behind her didn’t have much work to do.
However, they came up big when it counted. With two outs in the top of the sixth, the Vikings’ Hannah Self hit a tough chopper to second baseman Lauren Lindvall that had the potential to find its way through the infield. Lindvall, though, was able to field it cleanly and record the out, end the inning and keep Elish’s bid for a perfect game alive.
“Lauren Lindvall on that one really saved my butt,” Elish said.
As dominant as Elish was from the start, the Oregon bats weren’t giving her any support for much of the game. The Vikings’ Emma Detamore had a nice outing of her own, and kept Oregon scoreless through the first four innings.
“You always get worried that they could get one lucky hit, or a home run pops out of the ballpark and all of a sudden you get a loss,” said White.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Oregon offense was able to give Elish the run she needed when Alexis Mack roped a two-out, RBI single up the middle to score Lauren Burke to give Oregon the 1-0 lead.
A two-run home run from April Utecht in the bottom of the sixth inning put Oregon up 3-0 and gave Elish some insurance.
Insurance that Elish appreciated, but didn’t need on Tuesday. With three outs to go, Elish finished the deal in a manner that was almost inevitable — striking out the side.
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night.
— Cole Kundich (@ckundich) April 4, 2018
“That last strikeout felt awesome,” Elish said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. Every game is a special game because I’m on the field with my best friends.”
Game 1: Oregon 8, Portland State 2
Before Elish put together a historic performance, Maggie Balint threw the ball well in the Ducks 8-2 win over Portland State in the front-end of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Balint went the distance, giving up two runs in seven innings. It was her first complete game since a 5-1 Oregon win on March 3.
The Ducks put baserunners on throughout, and the applied pressure resulted in runs crossing the plate. A two-RBI single from Mack got the Oregon offense rolling in a four-run second inning. The Ducks tacked on a run apiece in the third and fourth inning, and two more in the bottom of the sixth.
Oregon hosts Arizona in a three-day series starting Friday at Jane Sanders Stadium.
Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @ckundich
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