Oregon’s softball team closed out its Regular Season against Stanford this afternoon, as Stevie Hansen spun a 5-hit shut-out and Oregon’s offense delivered a 3 - 0 victory. The Ducks won the series on the road against the Cardinal by 2 games to 1. Oregon finished with a 31 - 17 overall record, went 10 - 14 in Conference and could finish as high as 4th in the Pac-12 pending other results. The Ducks have next weekend off while some other Pac-12 teams finish their Conference seasons.
The game got off to a slow start a neither team could do much in the first inning. In the 2nd, Oregon had back-to-back singles from Ariel Carlson and KK Humphreys, and a sacrifice bunt from Tehya Bird gave the Ducks runners at 2nd and 3rd with only one out. But a strike out and a line out to short ended the threat. Hansen retired Stanford in order in the bottom of that inning.
Oregon also went down in order in the top of the 3rd, but Stanford had its best offensive inning of the game. A lead-off single was followed by a pop-up to the catcher, and a fielder’s choice on a comebacker to Hansen got the lead runner at 2nd for the second out. A two-out single gave the Cardinal runners at first the third, but a ground out to short ended Stanford’s inning.
The Ducks finally struck in the top of the 4th. Allee Bunker led off the inning with a 2nd-pitch home run to put the Ducks on top 1 - 0. Carlson then drew a base on balls and stole 2nd. A groundout moved Carlson to third and another groundout to 2nd allowed her to score. A flyout ended the inning, but Oregon had opened up a 2 - 0 lead. Stanford led off its half of the inning with a double to right but couldn’t advance the runner after a foul pop to 3rd and two catchable flies to the outfield.
Oregon added an insurance run in the top of the 5th. Jasmine Williams led off the inning on a fielding error, then stole 2nd after a Duck strikeout. A flyout gave Oregon its 2nd out, but Rachel Cid, on to pinch hit, singled driving in Williams. Cid advanced to 2nd as Stanford tried to catch Williams at the plate. Unfortunately, a groundout to third ended Oregon’s inning. Stanford got a one-out single, but Oregon again cut down the lead runner on a fielder’s choice and then got the third out on a foul pop to right field. Oregon now led by what would be the final score, 3 - 0.
Both teams went 3 and out in the 6th, and Oregon was limited to a 2-out single from Vallery Wong in the top of the 7th and could not score. Stanford had its last chance, but Hansen was giving them nothing in this game, striking the lead-off batter out looking and then getting 2 harmless fly balls to centerfield.
After blasting 11 hits in Saturday’s game, Oregon was held to just 3 on Sunday, but did a great job of manufacturing runs mostly out of quality baserunning. Hansen, who has shown great progress over the course of the season, pitched the complete-game shut-out, her second blanking of an opponent in Oregon’s last two series.
Oregon now looks to the selection of NCAA Regional participants for games that could begin as early as May 19. It’s hard to predict Committee decisions, but Oregon may have an outside shot at hosting a Regional. The team certainly did what it could, winning 5 of its last 6 games and appearing to be finding its rhythm in the circle and at the plate.