With all eyes in the softball world on Oregon, the depleted Ducks softball team came out swinging in the season opener on Friday against Kansas in Tempe, Arizona. The No. 25 Ducks beat Kansas 14-5 and followed that up with a 12-5 win over Cal State Northridge in the second game of a doubleheader to start Melyssa Lombardi’s career 2-0.
Oregon got off to a flying start as senior Cherish Burks hit a two-run single to give the Ducks an early lead in the top of the first.
Virginia Tech transfer pitcher Jordan Dail earned the start and performed well against Kansas in her 2019 debut, striking out 10 while allowing four hits on 5.2 innings pitched.
Dail gave up two two-run home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and was replaced by Maddie MacGrandle, who also made her debut for the Ducks after her transfer from Texas A&M. Dail went on to earn the win.
The pitching was helped by the bats, as Oregon was out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first and added onto it with home runs by freshmen Rachel Cid (three-run) and Hannah Galey (solo) and sophomore Shaye Bowden (solo) to elevate the Ducks to an 8-1 lead. Then Galey struck again, this time a two-run homerun in the sixth to give the Ducks a 10-1 advantage.
She came up to the plate again in the seventh, and hit a two-run single to finish 3-for-5 with five RBIs and her two home runs. Burks ended her game with three RBIs on 3-of-5 batting, while Bowden had two hits and two RBIs and leadoff Haley Cruse went 2-for-4 with a double.
Oregon had a patient performance at the plate, drawing 10 walks in the win over Kansas.
Oregon capped off its first day of the season with a second win on the day, running away to a 12-5 win after the game was tied at five.
The Ducks 12 runs came on just 13 hits.
Oregon went down 2-0 in the first inning but took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third before surrendering that lead at 5-3 in the bottom of the inning. Then, the Ducks tied the game at 5-5 with a Cid two-run home run before the floodgates opened and Oregon scored nine unanswered runs in the fourth inning.
That run was highlighted by a Cruse two-run triple to make it 11-5. Cruse went on to have a big defensive play one inning later, robbing a home run prior to the sixth inning.
Dail took the circle in the bottom of the fourth for the remainder of the game, striking out four and closing out what MacGrandle started.
MacGrandle, who gave up five runs on six hits in three innings pitched, got her first win as a Duck while Dail earned a save.
The Ducks will continue the Kajikawa Classic with games against Missouri and Bradley on Saturday.