In each of the games’ first four innings the Ducks were able to advance a runner to second base – albeit with two outs each time. In none of those instances was Oregon able to solve Washington’s Gabbie Plain for a run.
The Huskies broke through in a big way in the fifth. A single to DJ Sanders’ glove side got the inning started; a throwing error by third baseman Jenna Lilley and a missed force play at the plate added fuel to the fire and by the time Miranda Elish relieved starting pitcher Megan Kleist, the Huskies had plated four runs.
Washington added two runs in the sixth, both charged to Elish who allowed three hits and struck out three in her 1.2 innings of work. Kleist deserved a better fate in taking the loss, striking out four and giving up three hits in 4.1 innings.
Head coach Mike White often states his conviction that defense wins championships and while it was Oregon’s inability to get an out that torpedoed their efforts against Washington on Friday, the bats shoulder a fair share of the blame as well. Throughout the season the Ducks have enjoyed a nice mix of manufacturing a run in a tight ball game as well as suddenly delivering a K.O. with a barrage of runs.
Neither was the case against Washington. The Ducks finished the day 3-for-19 with runners on base and 2-for-11 with a runner in scoring position. Most of those opportunities came early in the game and unable to break through, once the Huskies had the lead Oregon was left with six outs to fashion a rally.
Two seventh inning runs thanks to an Washington throwing error and a Gwen Svekis RBI single was too little to late for the Ducks to avoid moving to the other side of the losers bracket where they will face the winner of Georgia vs. Florida State in an elimination game on Saturday. First pitch is set for 6:30 PDT and will be carried on ESPN.
~ Rick Morgan