The Ducks' pitching staff needs some assistance.
Jordan Dail is a good pitcher, who can get plenty of strikeouts and go deep into games. But it’s a lot to ask of any pitcher to throw three complete games in a 24-hour span, which Dail did over the weekend.
Oregon (16-12, 1-8 Pac-12) won the first game of day against Pittsburgh (6-32, 2-10 ACC) 4-3 behind Dail’s third complete game in 24 hours. The Ducks were then run-ruled by Missouri (21-16, 6-6 SEC) 8-0 in the following game, and did not get a single hit off Madi Norman (10-7).
Dail improved to 13-18 on the season, and threw seven strikeouts and four walks in her seven innings. She did give up two homers: one was a solo shot in the first inning, and the other nearly blew the game for the Ducks. After throwing back-to-back strikeouts in the final inning after giving up a leadoff base hit, Dail gave up a two-run homer to Olivia Gray, which made it a one-run ballgame. Dail recovered by striking out the last batter to end the Panther’s comeback hopes
April Utecht hit her seventh home run of the season off Brittany Knight (2-15) to put two runs on the board for the Ducks, which tied for the highest team total with Rachel Cid.
Oregon scored two more runs in the second inning. It started with back-to-back base hits from Allee Bunker and Cid. Bunker scored off wild pitches from Knight. The Ducks scored in the fifth. With two outs, Cherish Burks doubled to right field, and Jasmine Sievers knocked her in with an RBI single to take a 4-1 lead.
Missouri made quick work of the Ducks, who looked lost in the circle and at the plate. Norman did not dominate the plate, as she finished with three strikeouts and three walks, but she forced batters into hitting tough pitches for ground balls.
Kailey Krueger (0-4) got the start for Oregon in the second game of the day. She immediately ran into trouble, loading the bases in the first inning, but worked her way out of it with a pair of fly balls. But in the third, Missouri took full advantage by loading the bases again with some bunt singles. Kimberly Wert then launched a grand slam to take the early lead.
Krueger would end up leaving the game in the fourth inning after Brooke Wilmes doubled, giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead. The Ducks couldn’t play Dail due to the heavy workload she’s had over the weekend, so they went with their third baseman, Cid.
Cid pitched 1.1 innings in relief. Missouri scored the final three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hatti Moore homered to lead off the inning, then Wert doubled to left field and advanced on a wild pitch. She came in on a single from Kara Decker. The game’s clinching run came when Abby George singled up the middle, bringing in Tajiah Ellison to make it 8-0.
The games don’t get any easier for the Ducks, as they will face No. 1 UCLA in Southern California for a three-game series starting Friday.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august