The Ducks wanted revenge against the Huskies. Washington had cost them a College World Series opener and took a two-game regular series win last season, ending Oregon’s four-year series winning streak.
On the other side, Washington wanted to prove it still had power, especially after getting swept by UCLA the week prior.
In Friday’s highly anticipated matchup between the two, it wasn’t until the top of the ninth inning that a team took charge.
With a runner on first and second base, a Jenna Lilley bunt brought home Lauren Lindvall and ignited Oregon’s offense. Another bunt from Alexis Mack loaded the bases and set up DJ Sanders, who blasted a grand slam to give Oregon a five-run lead.
Scoring five runs in the ninth inning, No. 2 Oregon (39-7, Pac-12 13-3) clinched a 7-2 win against the No. 4 Huskies (41-6, 12-6) to open a three-game series Friday night in Seattle. It was Washington’s first home loss of the season.
Oregon’s seven runs scored against Washington is the most the Huskies have allowed an opponent this season. The loss marks the first extra-inning defeat to the Huskies since their 2016 season.
Oregon scored two runs in the top of the fifth to briefly take a 2-1 lead before the Huskies evened the score off a wild pitch in the second half of the inning.
Sanders led the Ducks with five RBIs. Gwen Svekis earned one RBI and Shannon Rhodes and Haley Cruse each hit a double.
Facing off for the first time since the World Series match, Oregon pitcher Megan Kleist competed against Washington’s Taran Alvelo in the circle. But this time, it was Kleist who earned the win.
In nine innings, Kleist struck out 14 batters and allowed eight hits and one walk. She improved to a 16-5 season record. The loss was Alvelo’s fourth this season.
The Ducks and Huskies will meet for game two of the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. back at the Husky Softball Stadium.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni