Saturday marked the last time the Oregon softball seniors saw the field in the final matchup of the season between the Ducks and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The series finale at Jane Sanders Stadium concluded with a score of 12-4 in favor of Arizona State.
Oregon’s senior group had its final send off with a ceremony to honor the players.
“I will never ever forget what this senior group has done for me and for our team and the university. I can’t say enough,” Oregon head coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “Without them, I don’t think we would have been able to do what we did this year.”
Unlike the previous two games in the series, the Ducks were sharp defensively along with left-handed pitcher Jordan Dail taking control early.
Oregon came out from the first two innings neck-and-neck with Arizona State, with Allee Bunker giving the Ducks an early lead along with an ASU solo home run to tie it 1-1.
Struggles began for Oregon in the third inning, where it allowed six runs on five hits with an error. The same pattern from the first two games emerged when the Ducks saw themselves in an early deficit that continued into the fourth inning with two more Sun Devil runs.
Oregon attempted to combat ASU’s momentum with a pitching change that replaced Dail with freshman third baseman Rachel Cid.
This adjustment did not slow down the Sun Devils scoring run as they added three more runs in the fourth to extend their lead 10-4.
At the start of the fifth, Oregon was a in a situation that was all too familiar finding themselves digging out of a early deficit and had to play catch up for the entire game.
Oregon senior Cherish Burks ended her Oregon softball career with a bang as she led the team with hits on all of her at-bats, starting off with a leadoff double into the gap between left and center field. The California native added two doubles to help the team start a potential comeback.
Burks was Oregon’s highlight player of the game with an additional two RBIs to go along with her 3-for-3 on the plate on her senior day.
“My motto this whole season was: enjoy the moment. With everything I wanted to do I was going to leave no regrets on the field,” the senior said. “I just really wanted to capture my last game here at the Jane because it is amazing.”
Her effort and Cid’s pitching in the circle were not enough to ignite a scoring comeback and the Ducks didn't score after the third inning.
Even Cid’s catch from a line drive paired with a throw to second base for a double play was not enough to stop Arizona State’s scoring leading into the sixth inning.
“It was important for this group to fight from the beginning all the way to the very end and walk off the field, as a group, the way that they wanted to walk off,” Lombardi said. “And they did it right.”
Lombardi added that next year’s group will look back and say that if they could get through this season, they can get through anything.
The Ducks finished with a 22-30 overall record with a last place standing in the Pac-12 conference with a record of 5-19.