Oregon softball couldn’t figure out Arizona State’s pitching and Jordan Dail couldn’t find control early, as the Ducks fell 4-0 Thursday afternoon.
Dail struggled early on, throwing 12 of her first 15 pitches for balls, and thus walking the first three batters she faced. After Dail was finally able to record an out, Arizona State was able to capitalize through junior Jade Gortarez, who doubled to center field and plated three Sun Devils, giving them a 3-0 lead.
“What got her today [was] the first inning” Head Coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “To walk three and then give up the big hit, you look at the scoreboard and it [all] happened in the first inning.”
ASU starter Cielo Meza started off sharp in the first inning, but same as Dail, could not find the strike zone in the bottom of the second. After getting Rachel Cid to flyout to left field, Meza then walked the next three batters to load the bases.
She was replaced by Samantha Mejia, who cooly struck out Lexi Wagner and Bailey Cook to end the threat, maintaining ASU’s 3-0 advantage.
The Ducks’ bats remained dormant throughout the game, as they could not earn their way aboard until the bottom of the sixth inning. Mejia continued to fool the Ducks hitters with her combination of off-speed and heaters.
“I don’t think we saw Oregon softball today” said Lombardi. “I think we are much more capable at the plate than what we showed. I think their pitching staff threw well, but we’re much more capable.”
It took until the sixth inning for Oregon to get a hit when Haley Cruse broke up Arizona State’s no-hit bid with a double off the wall in left field. But once again, Oregon could not capitalize and left her stranded at second to end the inning.
For the Ducks, that would be the only hit they could muster all game, as they would go down quietly in the seventh. Mejia would end her afternoon only having given up the one hit to Cruse, while striking out five Sun Devils in 5.2 innings of work. She was dominant after entering the circle in the top of the second and left with her 14th win of the season.
Her counterpart, Jordan Dail, after the rough first inning, was able to get her command back, only giving up one run off of five hits and no walks the rest of her outing. But the damage had already been done in the first.
“She had a hard time settling in, maybe a little adrenaline… she just needed to settle in quicker” said Lombardi.
Even though it was an overall frustrating night, the Oregon faithful were happy to see Cruse and Jasmine Sievers return to the lineup after dealing with concussions and couldn’t travel with the team to Utah last week. Unfortunately only Cruse was able to earn her way aboard as Sievers went 0-3.