Oregon softball completes sweep of Arizona with run-rule win
The bases were loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning when Arizona’s errors came.
Pitcher Taylor McQuillin threw back-to-back wild pitches, allowing two runners to score, giving Oregon softball a 6-0 lead. Moments later, an error by Arizona’s shortstop allowed freshman Shaye Bowden to reach first while another Oregon run scored.
Then, senior Gwen Svekis doubled down the left-field line to bring Bowden around to third. Oregon needed just one more run for a run-rule win and a series sweep. That came with one swing of the bat from freshman Mary Iakopo, who blasted a three-run home run to right field to win the game 10-0.
“It didn’t even feel like it went over,” Iakopo said. “I just thought one out was going to be a pop fly.”
The No. 5 Ducks (32-6, 7-2) trounced No. 9 Arizona 10-0 in a run-rule win to sweep the Wildcats at Jane Sanders Stadium for Oregon’s first series sweep of the season. Behind big bats and strong pitching, the Ducks faced little trouble from Arizona all weekend long, outscoring the Wildcats 23-2 on the weekend.
“We had a plan and we committed to it fully as a team,” head coach Mike White said. “I think it’s the first time all year we really committed to the plan we had, and I was pleased to see it pay off. Now, hopefully it’ll give us some confidence to stick to our plan and do what we need to do.”
Junior Megan Kleist got the start in the circle. She lasted five innings, throwing 10 strikeouts while allowing just one hit and two walks. Kleist threw several 1-2-3 innings, including the first and the fifth, which had fives strikeouts over the six outs. She had seven strikeouts through the first three innings.
In the top of the sixth, Kleist was replaced by Miranda Elish, who, earlier in the day, completed Saturday’s game which was postponed due to weather. Elish faced four batters in the one inning she played in the earlier game.
Elish and the Ducks retired the first and only three batters that she faced — two via strikeouts and one on a ground ball.
“[Elish] threw more pitches than I wanted her to,” White said. “To tell you the truth, going into the postseason we might need that.”
With the Ducks up 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, senior DJ Sanders stepped into the batter’s box.
On a 2-2 count, Sanders, who hit the NCAA-high 29 home runs last season, caught it perfectly as she roped a line drive way over the left-field wall to give Oregon a cushion lead of 4-0.
Iakopo started in place of Mia Camuso at first base while fellow freshman Lauren Burke got the nod at designated player.
“Every now and then you just get into a funk and you need to see it from the other side of the field,” White said. “I think Camuso will probably be out there next week and hopefully she’ll create some urgency there.”
Oregon now shifts its focus on a road trip to Tempe, Arizona, to play Arizona State before hosting nonconference opponent Oklahoma in a one-game matchup.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow
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