With an 8-3 against Cal on Friday afternoon, Oregon softball clinched half a share of the Pac-12 title. The Ducks (46-7, 19-3 in Pac-12) have a one game lead over UCLA (48-4, 18-4 in Pac-12), and if they beat Cal tomorrow and UCLA loses to ASU tomorrow or the next game, then Oregon will get its fifth conference title in six years.
Megan Kleist (20-5) threw a complete seven innings for the win, her 17th complete game this season. The junior was her normal consistent self, getting 10 strikeouts, no walks and only three hits.
Oregon responded well after Cal scored the first run of the game. The Ducks scored four runs in consecutive innings to put the game out of reach for the Bears. Gwen Svekis and DJ Sanders both had homeruns in the game. Svekis is tied for second in the Pac-12 with 50 RBIs this season, and third in total homers (17).
Oregon couldn’t capitalize on their baserunners in the early innings. Lauren Rood, the second baseman for the Bears, doubled and scored off a wild pitch in the fourth inning for the game’s first run.
The single run seemed to ignite the Oregon offense. With two outs in the fifth inning, Alexis Mack hit an RBI single to score Haley Cruse from third. After Sanders singled, Svekis launched home run number 50 of the season, and the Ducks took a 4-1 lead.
After Cal scored on fielders choice and a single from catcher Lauren Espalin, the Ducks kept their offense rolling. Mia Camuso started the inning with a double then scored on a throwing error. After a walk from Cruse and another single for Mack, Sanders homered for the second three-run shot of the to make it 8-3.
With a win tomorrow to close out the regular season and a UCLA loss within the next two games, Oregon will win the Pac-12 title. The first pitch of the final game will be at 12 p.m.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august