Third-Seeded Ducks Knock Off No. 1 Seed Fullerton To Advance At NCAA Regionals
May 17, 2003
FULLERTON, Calif. - The 17th-ranked University of Oregon softball team wouldn't want it any other way. On Saturday - facing elimination from the NCAA Regionals - the third-seeded Ducks defeated No. 1 seed and host Cal State Fullerton, 2-1, to advance in the tournament and win their 15th one-run game of the season.
'This is typical of how we play,' Oregon head coach Kathy Arendsen said. 'Fullerton is as good as any Pac-10 team and it's just another good win for us.'
Senior Amber Hutchison scored her fourth run of the tournament in the top of the first inning after reaching on a walk and stealing second. Hutchison advanced to third on senior Lynsey Haij's single up the middle and scored on a throwing error by Fullerton catcher Jennifer Holt, who was attempting to pick off Haij's steal attempt. Senior Andrea Vidlund, who has a tournament-high seven RBI, drove in Haij with a single down the left side to put Oregon ahead 2-0 and force Fullerton to replace starting pitcher Gina Oaks with Jodie Cox.
'This is a huge step for us to continue on this note,' Hutchison said. 'We're just getting better as the tournament goes on.'
Hutchison now leads the tournament field in batting average (.500), hits (6), runs scored (4) and stolen bases (3) while Vidlund leads the field in home runs (2) and total bases (10).
Oregon's defense came up big in three consecutive innings as Fullerton had runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings with less than two outs. In the fourth, Fullerton loaded the bases with one out after a single each by Krista O'Hanian, Amy LaRocque and Julie Watson. With one out, lead off hitter Heather Saltarelli flew out to right fielder and Oregon freshman Beth Boskovich threw home to pick off O'Hanian for the double play to end the inning and prevent the Titans from putting any runs on the board.
Three-time Big West Player of the Year Jenny Topping pulled Fullerton within a run in the fifth inning, hitting her 10th home run of the season and first of the NCAA Regional tournament.
With the top of its batting order coming to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, Oregon brought in Vidlund to close the game and after allowing a lead-off single to Heather Saltarelli, who advanced to second on Gina Oaks' sacrifice bunt for the first out, Vidlund intentionally walked topping to put runners on first and second. Vidlund then forced Jodie Cox and Amanda Hockett to fly out to end the game and pick up her 11th save of the season.
The Ducks (35-18) will face the winner of the Oklahoma State/Louisiana-Lafayette game at 4 p.m. today.
regon 200 000 0 - 2 4 2Fullerton 000 010 0 - 1 9 1HR: Topping (10)