For the second game in a row, the Ducks found themselves down 3-0 in the first inning to Arizona State.
On Thursday, Oregon pitcher Jordan Dail was able to take back control and prevent the Sun Devils from inflicting more damage.
That wasn’t the case Friday night as ASU turned its three-run lead to five and used the early lead to create enough distance from the Ducks to not only win the game, but also steal Oregon’s last attempt at a series win along with it.
“I think what was tough for us was it’s just an uphill battle just giving up five right off the bat in the first inning,” Oregon head coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “From there on we are trying to make up runs from the very beginning of the game and it’s just tough to do.”
ASU’s 10-1 win over the Ducks (22-29, 5-18 Pac-12) gave the Sun Devils its first series win in Eugene since 2012. As for Oregon, the loss moves the team down to tie the Cal Bears for last place in the Pac-12.
“Is it frustrating not to win? Absolutely,” Lombardi said. “You know why? Because my heart breaks for this team, because it stinks when you work as hard as they do and you don’t get the breaks that we want to get. But it’s okay because I trust this process and I know this team is going to be ok."
Oregon’s first adjustment in attempt to catch up to and slow down the Sun Devils didn’t come until the top of sixth when the Ducks were already down 8-1.
Lombardi relieved Dail for center fielder Haley Cruse. However, not even a full inning later, Cruse was relieved by third baseman Rachel Cid.
It was a scene that Oregon softball fans have become too familiar with during the latter half of this season. Blame it on the small roster or the lack of pitchers available, the Ducks just could not keep up with their opponent’s momentum.
The Sun Devils took advantage of another sluggish start from the Ducks and used that to lead the game. No pitching changes and not even a solo home run from Shaye Bowden in the bottom of the fifth, brought Oregon any closer to reaching ASU.
While the Ducks kept the Sun Devils at bay, defensively, in innings two through four, they didn’t make enough moves offensively to put up the needed runs. In fact, ASU out hit the Ducks 10-2 over the course of the game.
Dail (18-17) recorded the loss after allowing nine hits and eight runs, walking three batters and striking out four. Bowden recorded Oregon's two lone hits of the day along with a solo home run.
“We came into this weekend to win each game whether we are in postseason or not,” Lombardi said. “For me, for this team, it doesn’t matter. It’s about us finishing this season and finishing it right."
The Ducks will conclude the season Saturday at noon in the series finale against the Sun Devils at Jane Sanders Stadium.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni