Most of what could go wrong for Oregon did go wrong in their initial matchup with Oklahoma State this evening. A promising start that saw Oregon go ahead 1 - 0 in the early innings quickly came apart under a barrage of Duck fielding errors and Cowgirl home runs. Oregon starting pitcher Morgan Scott threw three shut-out innings, but was tattooed for 3 runs in the 4th, including a home run and bizarre play on a come-backer to the circle that Scott arm-hitched into the dirt toward home plate. Scott had the Cowgirl runner coming home from third “dead to rights,” as the broadcast noted, but the poor throw gave Oklahoma State its second run of the inning instead of its 2nd out. Shortly after, Reagan Breedlove came on in relief, and gave up 3 hits and 5 more runs - including another home run - in 2.2 innings.
Oregon played some small ball early and scored a nice run in the top of the second on a KK Humphreys bunt single, a sacrifice bunt by Hanna Delgado (that she also almost beat out) and an Alyssa Daniell single to left to score Humphreys.
But as in their first game early in the season against Oklahoma State, the Ducks never got going offensively. Oregon had just 3 hits for the game and no walks or hit batters. What had looked like it was settling down into a pitchers’ duel turned into a rout as the Cowgirls got to Breedlove in the bottom of the fifth and plated 4 additional runs, going in front 7 - 1, and tacking on one more in the sixth for the final 8 - 1 score.
Meanwhile, Oregon was making 15 straight outs and although they had a couple of well-hit balls to the warning track, nice plays by the Cowgirl outfield kept them from doing damage.
The Ducks seemed shaken by the Cowgirl rally that gave them the 3 - 1 lead in the 4th, particularly Scott’s throwing error. It’s not that they were dominating the game, but they were playing smart, including the small ball “take what they give us” early. Oregon also had a few very good at-bats that caused OSU starter Lexi Kilfoyl to throw quite a number of pitches, giving the Ducks a lot of looks at her ball movement and an idea of the umpire’s strike zone. There were also two uncharacteristic errors on batted balls at first base (only one of which made it onto the official scoresheet).
After review... Katelynn Carwile's ball is FAIR and good for a one-out double... Cowgirls with runners at second and third...— OSU Cowgirl Softball (@cowgirlsb) May 26, 2023
B4 | UO 1 - OSU 1#AllOne | @katecarwile | ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/xSN3Z1F1ys
This was the kind of game you hope your team can just laugh off, and in a best-of-three series, Oregon has little choice but to do so. After a stunning sweep of their Regional, the Ducks now face their first “win-or-go-home” test. Every facet of the Oregon game is going to have to be radically better if they want to force a Game Three on Saturday.