On Saturday of the Oregon Invitational, No. 6 Oregon softball played as the home team in both games of a doubleheader evening against Weber State and Montana. The Ducks (21-4) defeated both teams behind dominant pitching that totaled 24 strikeouts over 12 innings.
Game 1: Oregon 10, Weber State 2
The bats came out early and the pitching stayed consistent for Oregon in its first game of a doubleheader on Saturday as the Ducks beat Weber State (11-13) 10-2 in a 4.5 inning run-rule win.
Miranda Elish, who came into Saturday boasting a 0.14 ERA, threw all five innings for the Ducks, striking out 12, walking two and allowing two hits. The Ducks bats backed her up with all 10 runs coming in the first two innings of the game.
Elish struck out each batter she faced in the third, two of three in the second and three of the four batters she faced in the final inning.
“She tried to overthrow there in the middle innings and kind of got flustered,” Oregon head coach Mike White said. “She wants it so bad that she gets ahead of herself. She composed herself and ended up throwing a good game.”
Oregon opened up the scoring in the first with a Gwen Svekis RBI single and a Mary Iakopo two-RBI double.
In the second, with two on, senior Jenna Lilley delivered a three-run home run to right field for her third home run of the season. Lilley hit just one home run all last season.
“She’s very composed, obviously she’s a terror in the infield at defense she just snags anything that’s down there,” White said.
Two batters later after Lilley, sophomore Shannon Rhodes hit a two-run home run to left field.
The Ducks had to quickly shift focus for their game against Montana just 30 minutes after the end of their win over the Wildcats.
Game 2: Oregon 6, Montana 0
If the pitching in the first game seemed solid, the second game was near perfect. In fact, it was one error short of being a perfect game.
Oregon pitcher Megan Kleist threw a no-hitter and faced the minimum 21 batters in a 6-0, seven-inning win over Montana (7-16). Like Elish in the first game, Kleist tossed 12 strikeouts for the Ducks while only allowing one base runner, which came on a Lilley error.
That error was amended as Iakopo, playing catcher, picked off Montana’s Kylie Hayton as she tried to steal second.
“Throwing people out with a canon,” Kleist said. “Super proud of where she’s going and I’m excited to see where she goes the next four years.”
Kleist has thrown two no-hitters in a row, the other being in Oregon’s 2-1 loss at Florida State.
“50-50 on them,” White said. “She pitched very well. A couple of hard-hit balls that were snagged and a tough error, but other than that, Megan pitched very well.”
Unlike the first game of the day for Oregon, it took some time for the Ducks to get the scoring going.
Oregon erupted for three runs in the fourth inning followed by a two-run fifth.
“It gives you kind of a little bit of a cushion to fool around with some different pitches in some different locations that you normally wouldn’t,” Kleist said. “It’s definitely good to have that run support.”
Oregon has two games left in the Oregon Invitational on Sunday against Montana at 12 and Bryant at 2:30.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow