Oregon Ducks softball saw six players enter the transfer portal (three of them being pitchers) at the end of the 2022 season. That necessitated looking to the transfer portal to try and fill in some of the missing parts of the puzzle. Last Thursday, Oregon announced the addition of three players from the transfer portal, and these new Ducks bear some examination.
Kyla Morris is an outfielder that primarily played left field for a very good Duke team in 2022 (Duke went 44-11 and went fairly deep in the NCAA tournament). She started 52 games and hit .283 with 26 hits and 11 RBIs. Her claim to fame is not offense, it’s defense. In Morris’ four-year career at Duke, she had just one error on 101 chances for error. Here is a sample of what Kyla Morris is capable of:
KYLA MORRIS GOES ALLLLLLL OUT!— Duke Softball (@DukeSOFTBALL) April 24, 2022
You have to watch this. pic.twitter.com/2juhK3RRxo
Morris is likely envisioned to fill the vacuum left by the departure of reserve outfielder Gabby Herrera.
Returning to her Oregon roots, Happy Valley’s Alyssa Daniell is joining the Ducks after having played the last two season for Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. Last year she started 53 of 54 games as a first baseman.
Daniell is also an excellent fielder, with just two errors on 301 chances. She brings a big bat to the Ducks lineup, hitting last season for a .357 average and a .587 slugging percentage, with 10 doubles and 7 HRs on 51 hits. Daniell brings the full package in offense and defense to the Oregon Ducks.
The Oregon Ducks also announced the transfer addition of Morgan Scott to the pitching staff. Signing Scott was a good sign following the transfers of half their pitchers at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
Scott comes to Oregon from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, where she has pitched for the last three seasons. In 2020, Scott made 11 starts in 15 appearances and finished the season with a 3.02 ERA. In 2021, she earned SoCon Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. Scott was named Pitcher of the Week three times and finished her season with a league-leading 20 wins with 210 strikeouts. She ended that season with a 2.18 ERA.
.@southernconference Pitcher of the Week X3️⃣— UNCG Softball (@UNCGSoftball) April 4, 2022
Congratulations to Morgan Scott (@Morgan_Scotty11) on earning her 2nd-straight and 3rd honor this season!
career high 16 Ks against Radford
Team 3⃣7⃣ | #letsgoG pic.twitter.com/4dWlJNUDEV
This last season, Scott went 25-12 with two saves, ending her season with a 2.28 ERA. Fans that follow Ducks softball would have seen Scott this last season, when Oregon played UNCG on March 3rd in North Carolina. That contest went into extra innings because the game was tied 4-4 going into the tenth inning. In the nine innings leading up to the 10th, Scott shut out the Oregon bats for 6 of 9 innings. The Duck bats broke open with 8 runs in the tenth and UNCG could not respond, but it’s an awful lot to ask a softball pitcher to last for 10 innings. For nine innings it was a fantastic pitching performance against a very good Ducks squad.
Oregon was not the only ranked team that UNC Greensboro faced. They opened the 2022 season against #16 Tennessee. Greensboro could not score a run against the Volunteers, but Scott held Tennessee to one run going into the 7th inning. Tennessee then hit a couple of home runs to put the game away, but Scott’s pitching overall was quite good in holding Tennessee to three hits on the game. UNCG met the Vols again in late April and lost that game 2-4. In that game, Scott gave up a three-run homer in the first inning but recovered and finished the game solidly. Tennessee’s pitching was too much to overcome and UNCG only picked up two runs off six hits. The third ranked team that Greensboro faced was #10 Duke on April 6th. Scott had an off-4th inning in that game - she gave up 6 hits and hit a batter with a pitch - but Duke played aggressive small ball that was aided by three UNCG errors. Duke scored 9 in that inning and prevailed 11-1 in five innings. (This was a Duke team that might have been destined to make it to the CSWS - had they not run into UCLA, who did advance).
Scott knows where the strike zone is at. Last season, in 42 game appearances, she threw 286 Ks and 74 walks. By comparison - admittedly an uneven comparison - Stevie Hansen had 36 game appearances with roughly half the innings. If Hansen’s stats were doubled to approximate Scott’s, she would have thrown 252 strikes and 64 walks. Using the same rationale, Makenna Kliethermes’ comparative stats would be 283 Ks with 117 walks.
Coach Lombardi likely needs more in the pitching room, but the transfer of Morgan Scott to the Ducks is a great addition with a lot of potential upside. The addition of all three of these players is yet another example of an Oregon coach making excellent use of the transfer portal to fill in nagging gaps in their lineup. Scott has two years of eligibility remaining in her college softball career and looks to be a solid punch for the Ducks in 2023 and 2024.