Oregon’s baseball and softball teams lost close contests to the Washington schools on Saturday. The final games of the series are set for Sunday.
Softball - The Ducks had a much more successful effort in Saturday’s game, as Washington prevailed only 9 - 7 in 8 innings. Nevertheless, Oregon’s pitching and defense were again unable to hold the Huskies offense down and has now given up 9 runs in consecutive games. Oregon has now lost four Conference series in a row.
The first inning was action-packed, as Washington scored twice on a Makenna Kliethermes issued walk and then a home run. Oregon, however, as they were unable to in Friday’s game, struck back immediately in their half of the first. Terra McGowan led off with a 9-pitch base on balls but was out on a Hanna Delgado fielder’s choice at second. Alle Bunker followed with a clean double to center, moving Delgado to third. Ariel Carlson was hit by the first pitch she faced, loading the bases for the Ducks with only one out. Oregon has struggled in recent games in this kind of situation, and it looked like the bad fortune might continue as a strikeout tagged Oregon with its second out of the inning. But KK Humphreys walked on four consecutive pitches, plating Delgado. Hannah Galey was then hit by another pitch, scoring Bunker and tying the game at 2 with the bases still loaded. Tehya Bird then delivered in the best possible way, slamming a 2 - 1 pitch over the left field fence, clearing the bases and giving the Ducks a 6 - 2 lead. A line out ended Oregon’s inning.
As has happened all too frequently in recent games, Oregon immediately gave up the lead as Washington struck for 5 runs in the top of the 2nd. Kliethermes started the inning with a walk, a hit batter, got a harmless pop-up to the catcher for the first out, but then another walk. With the bases now loaded, Kliethermes threw a wild pitch to score a run and issued an intentional walk to again load the bases. The strategy backfired, however, when Stevie Hansen was brought on for Kliethermes, and after getting another pop-up to the catcher, gave up a 2nd pitch grand slam homerun. After yet another walk, a foul pop out to third base ended the inning, but the Huskies now led 7 - 6.
Neither team could score in the third but Oregon was able to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth after holding the Huskies scoreless again. Paige Sinicki led off the inning with a double to left and was sacrified to third by McGowan. After a strikeout, Bunker singled to drive in Sinicki with the tying run. A groundout ended the Oregon 4th.
The team’s traded goose eggs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but Washington was able to score twice in the top of the 8th on another homer off Hansen. The Ducks were up against it, needing two to tie and three to win in their half of the 8th. After a strikeout, Byrd walked to bring the tying run to the plate. After another strikeout, McGowan singled on a hard come-backer to the circle and the potential game-winner came to the plate. Delgado drew a walk, and Oregon was within a hit of extending the game with the bases now loaded, but a strikeout ended the game leaving Oregon on the short end of a 9 -7 score in a game they could have won.
Hansen took the loss, and what had been an excellent record earlier in the season fell to 10 - 7. Oregon showed more of the kind of offensive punch that has won a number of games this season, but simply gave up too many runs in bunches and could not answer.
Baseball - After winning in dramatic fashion Friday, Oregon had a chance to clinch the series against Washington State. The effort got off to a shaky start, however, as the Ducks gave up 5 runs in the first three innings while plating only one themselves. Sophomore right-hander Jace Stoffel got his third start and gave up a two-out double and then a home run and Oregon trailed 2 - 0 after 1 inning. In the 2nd, Stoffel gave up a walk and another homer, and the Cougars led 4 - 0 after 2 innings.
In the third, Stoffel gave up a walk and another double, and was relieved by Matt Dallas. Dallas hit the first batter he faced and Washington State scored another run on a subsequent fielder’s choice. Dallas then got a strikeout, but the Cougars now led 5 - 0. Oregon would pull one back in its half of the inning, however, as Drew Cowley drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a Brennan Milone single. A wild pitch then brought Cowley home. The Ducks would do no more damage, and the inning ended with the Cougars ahead 5 - 1.
Both teams saw success in the 4th inning. The Cougars scored on a 2-out walk and a subsequent home run and then scored again on a single, a passed ball and another single to go up 8 - 1. Anthony Hall opened Oregon’s 4th with a double and came home on Colby Shade’s following double. Jack Scanlon was hit by a pitch and Oregon seemed to really be in business with runners on first and second with no outs. Gavin Grant singled up the middle, scoring Shade and moving Scanlon to third. Tanner Smith hit into a double play but scored Scanlon. The inning ended on a groundout to second, but Oregon had closed to 8 - 4.
After holding WSU in the top of the 5th, Oregon closed further. After a groundout, Jacob Walsh walked and Josh Kasevich singled to left, moving Walsh to second. Hall followed with a walk to load the bases with one out. A pitching change didn’t help the Cougars as Shade was hit by a pitch, plating Walsh. Another pitching change was slightly more helpful, as Scanlon was thrown out at first, but scoring Kasevich from third. A flyout ended the Duck threat, but Oregon had scored twice and made it a 2-run game at 8 - 6.
The teams each scored 2 runs over the next two innings with Oregon’s coming in the bottom of the 7th on a Hall homer that also scored Kasevich who had singled.
Neither team could score over the final 2 innings. Oregon had runners on first and second with two outs in the 8th and then went one-two-three in the final frame to give Washington State the 10 - 8 victory.
Stoffel ended up with the loss for the Ducks, his first decision of the season. The rubber game of the series comes Sunday at Noon.