No. 4 Oregon holds off Stanford’s rally for an 8-4 win
Oregon won in the top of the seventh inning when pitcher Miranda Elish struck out the final Stanford batter.
But it should have been a shorter game, and it probably would have been if the Cardinal hadn’t cut into a six-run Oregon lead from the second inning.
“Our challenge was, after Oklahoma how we do come back the next day,” Oregon shortstop DJ Sanders said. “And after that [second] inning, it felt good, but then we kinda went to sleep for the rest of the game.”
Scoring six runs off of six hits in the second inning, No. 4 Oregon (36-7, 10-3) fought to stay focused and clinch a three-game series opening win, 8-4, over the Cardinal Friday night at Jane Sanders Stadium. The game marked the Ducks’ 17th straight win against Stanford (22-21, 2-11), a streak dating back to the 2012 season.
But, the win fell short of Oregon’s 5-0 victory last night over two-time defending national champions the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners.
“I think we got those six runs and I think we maybe thought it was over,” Oregon head coach Mike White said.
Oregon had batters on the corners when Mia Camuso stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the second inning. Shannon Rhodes stole second base after Camuso’s first strike, but she wasn’t there for long. Camuso’s two-RBI hit got her home, along with Mary Iakopo — who was on third — giving Oregon a quick 2-0 lead.
After an RBI from Haley Cruse, Sanders blasted one out toward the centerfield wall for a three-RBI double to give Oregon a 6-0 lead.
“I think that hurt us a bit,” Sanders said. “Because we did feel so confident after those six, we kinda lost focus for a little bit. But it is really nice to know that we are able to have that kind of offense in an inning.”
Oregon’s lack of focus became evident half an inning later, when the Cardinal scored their first runs off of back-to-back RBIs to cut the Ducks’ lead to 6-2.
The Ducks scored two more runs, on a two-out double RBI from Jenna Lilley and a two-out RBI from Lauren Lindvall, but couldn’t find that same second-inning momentum.
In the top of the top of the sixth, Stanford pushed the run gap down again with back-to-back RBIs again to get within 8-4 of the Ducks.
It came down to Oregon’s defense and pitcher Miranda Elish to protect their lead.
“She was giving the ball up a little bit,” White said. “I think she was having some frustration with the umpire’s zone. It was hard to figure out where it was at the time. And that was frustrating for her, but that’s a part of growing. She’s got to figure that out.”
White kept Elish in the circle to complete the game, earning her 15th win of the season (now 15-1). Over her 114 pitches, she allowed two walks, six hits and struck out 12 batters.
“Sometimes you just want to see them work through it,” White said. “See what they can do. See if they can battle from behind. And she did … It gives me more confidence to let her battle through it.”
Oregon will look to keep a stronger, more focused mentality in tomorrow’s second game of the series back at the Jane at 5 p.m.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni
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