Tied at one with loaded bases, a full count and two outs, senior DJ Sanders faced the payoff pitch in the top of the eighth.
She reached down on her swing and sent the ball flying over the left-center field fence, hitting a grand slam and giving Oregon a 5-1 lead in extra innings.
— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) April 1, 2018
That lead was preserved in the bottom of the inning as the No. 5 Ducks (27-6, 4-2) defeated No. 25 Oregon State 5-1 in the rubber match of their series on Saturday in Corvallis. Behind a complete eight-inning game from junior pitcher Megan Kleist (10-4), the Ducks earned their second series win in a rubber match in Pac-12 play.
Kleist allowed six hits and one run over the eight innings while throwing five strikeouts. Her ERA now sits at 0.91 on the year.
The one run came in the form of a McKenna Arriola solo home run in the third inning to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
Oregon responded in the fifth when Laruen Burke hit an RBI single to score Cherish Burks and tie the game.
After leading the NCAA last season with 29 home runs while playing for Louisiana, Sanders has struggled to find her deep ball on a frequent basis after hitting seven home runs in nonconference play. Sanders’ last home run came when the Ducks beat LSU 4-0 on Feb. 23.
With the Ducks’ win over the Beavers, Oregon keeps its series win streak — which dates back to 2012 — alive against Oregon State. Oregon takes on Portland State in a doubleheader on Tuesday April 3 in Eugene before Arizona comes to Jane Sanders Stadium for a three-day series starting April 6.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow