After a defeat in extra innings against the #7 Stanford Cardinal in their home opener on Friday, the Ducks were looking to even up the series, knowing that they can play head-to-head with Stanford. Over 1,900 fans showed up for a perfect day in March for a ball game.
Morgan Scott picked up the Game 2 start. The first inning was arguably the most difficult for Scott - she gave up a couple of hits, and a wild pitch and an infield throwing error lead to the Cardinal scoring first. With two outs and two on base, however, Scotty picked up the K and limited the Cardinal damage to one run.
For the rest of the game, Morgan Scott would blank Stanford in a complete game pitching performance that only allowed two additional hits. This was what Oregon needed from Scott, and why picking her up as a transfer in the off-season was such a crucial addition to the Ducks pitching staff. Scott’s pitching against a top-10 team - and getting the win - was simply masterful.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Ducks lineup immediately presented problems for Stanford starter NiJaree Canady. KK Humphreys hit a double in her first at-bat, and an Allee Bunker single sent Humphreys home to even the game at 1-1.
In the 3rd inning, Stanford relieved Canady with Regan Krause. Regardless, after the first the game became a pitching duel, Scotty was in control of her game:
But Krause was also blanking the Ducks.
Scotty pitched fantastic, but it takes great defense to get the win against great teams, and the Ducks were pulling through when needed.
Oregon’s offense had been threatening the Cardinal pitching, but hadn’t quite been following through. The cracks were there, however, and in the sixth Allee Bunker put the ball over the left field fence for the go-ahead run.
Then the game got a bit strange. Alyssa Daniell went to bat as a DP. A couple of batters later, Allison Benning pinch-hit to score a run, but (after much confusion in the press box) it was ruled as an administrative error, and instead of a run the Ducks picked up an out instead.
Stanford tried to make it a game in the 7th, but failed. A Cardinal single advanced to second on a wild pitch. A ground-out advanced that runner to third, and then a great Paige Sinicki grab for the out ended the game.
The Oregon Ducks ended Stanford’s 21-straight win streak. The Cardinal had problems with Scotty, who struck out four and walked only one with four hits on the game.
After the game, as Ducks softball does after every home game on Saturdays, the team lined up to sign pictures and balls, and greet their appreciative fans.
Oregon softball next plays Stanford for the series win on 3/19/23 at 12:00 pm PT, at the Jane.
Baseball has tried to be the little brother of last year. Unfortunately. Look, it’s not the fault of these Ducks that they lost RJ Gordon and Issac Ayon for all or significant parts of this season. Regardless, the pitching woes have sometimes felt like a replay of last season.
Ah, but the season is young, and not all is lost; especially not on a day like Saturday, where even though the entirety of the Ducks pitching staff was not at its finest, enough locked down to make Oregon’s offensive surge stick.
And man oh man, what a surge it was.
Leo Uelman had the start vs. Caden Kaelber for the Cougars. Both pitchers had a solid first inning, and then Uelman ran into trouble in the 2nd. Yes, Uelman gave up some hits, but there were times where he did not get timely help from his defense, and WSU went up 0-4.
Oregon responded in the top of the third inning. The bats were connecting, not allowing WSU to run away with the game as they did on Friday.
The game was 2-4 in the middle of the third inning. In the bottom of the third, WSU knocked in another run to make it 2-5.
The scoreboard notwithstanding, credit the UO staff for sticking with Uelman for over three innings. Freshmen will be green. They have to learn, and Uelman has the stuff to be a really good pitcher for the Ducks. That’s why Oregon kept him in the game.
In the top of the fourth, Oregon had the Cougars’ pitching number. You can’t operate on fairy dust forever, and the Ducks applied their offensive cannons for the rest of the game. Bennett Thompson walked and was followed by a Carter Garrate single. Then Rikuu Nishida scored both and Oregon was down 4-5.
Colby Shade scored Nishida when WSU vomited on their shoes and screwed up the Shade out at first.
And our game was now tied, 5-5. But the Ducks were not completely finished in applying the hurt to the hapless Cougars.
Tanner Smith then blasted a double to left center, and Oregon was up 7-5.
Austin Anderson pitched for part of the fourth inning, and then Grayson Grinsell came in for three innings of impressive pitching. The freshman really locked down the Cougs and made this win possible.
While Grinsell was doing his thing, Oregon continued to dink WSU. Oregon picked up two manufactured runs in the sixth to go up 9-7.
That score would remain in the seventh inning. In the eighth, Oregon completely put WSU to pasture. In this inning, WSU cleverly allowed a Tanner Smith single, walked Jacob Walsh, saw Bennett Thompson advance the runners on a fielder’s choice, walked Carter Garrate and scored Smith...bases loaded, what could possibly go wrong with Gavin Grant coming to the plate?
14-7 was the final score. Oregon bailed out its pitching staff.
Let’s be fair - offense often needs to bail out pitching, and a win is a win. But a lot of the time defense is crucial, right?
The Oregon Ducks evened the series against the Cougars, and play their rubber match Sunday at 1:05 pm PT.
@tannerr_smith 4-for-5, 2B 3 RBI, R@gavingrant__ 3-for-6, GS HR, 2 R— Oregon Duck Baseball (@OregonBaseball) March 19, 2023
Cowley 2-for-3, 3 BB@A5D0l 2-for-6, 2 RBI, R@20_sabin 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, R@CarterGarate 2-for-4, RBI, 2 R@graysongrinsell 3.0 IP, 0 R, 4 K (1st career win)#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/2C91u2uEiF