With Oregon up 4-1 and three outs away from another win, junior Megan Kleist stepped into the circle for one last inning.
Kleist stared at the tying run at the plate twice in the final inning, and the Ducks’ ace did not disappoint, forcing an out at second and a popup to end the game.
No. 4 Oregon (38-7, 11-3) took care of business against Stanford for the second time in as many days, with six different starters earn a hit in a well-rounded 4-1 win over the Cardinal.
The Cardinal scored first thanks to a couple of infield hits combined with a bizarre error that saw Oregon catcher Gwen Svekis throwing to an unoccupied first base as Mia Camuso came inside in an effort to field a ground ball.
But the Ducks managed to erase the deficit immediately in the bottom of the first when Jenna Lilley smashed a solo home run to right field to tie the game.
“They worked really hard to get one run then all of a sudden, one batter, one swing and it’s tied up,” head coach Mike White said. “That’s some of the things that happens in this game sometimes.”
Mary Iakopo had another big game for the Ducks at the plate with the freshman playing as a designated player while Svekis played catcher.
Iakopo went 3-for-3 at the plate, hitting a double and two singles as she crossed home plate for one of Oregon’s four runs.
“I think when I’m catching I get to see where the strike zone is during that first inning, get a feel for the umpire,” Iakopo said.
The Ducks were efficient from lower down in the order with 2-of-3 hitting and an RBI from Lauren Burke, and 2-of-3 hitting from Haley Cruse, while the Ducks first four of the order went just 2-for-13 on the day.
“Bottom of the order is coming in big time for us,” White said. “Those guys are doing well so I’d just like to see that 2-3-4 pick up that slack.”
Steadily, the Ducks added to the lead with runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings while Kleist continued to deal with some hiccups but nothing major.
“I thought Kleist pitched well,” White said. “It wasn’t her best game but again that’s Stanford over there. They’re making her work a lot. They’re not swinging at marginal pitches. They’re doing a good job.”
While Kliest completed her outing with six hits and seven strikeouts to her name, White says he will put Miranda Elish back in the circle for the final game of the series on Sunday at 12, giving the sophomore a chance to start twice against the Cardinal this weekend.
“She hasn’t really had an opportunity to have two games in a weekend — two starts,” White said. “This is a good opportunity to maybe prepare down the future when she could be the number one.”
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow