UCLA, Oregon lose; Pac-12 eliminated from WCWS

The Pac-12 softball season is officially over now that Oregon and UCLA have been eliminated in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. Both schools lost one-run affairs to SEC counterparts, with Alabama edging Oregon and Auburn sneaking by UCLA in a 10-inning instant classic.

Oregon

Chandler Dare’s two-out, two-run bloop single in the bottom of the second inning was all the offense Alabama needed as the sixth-seeded Crimson Tide staved off elimination with a 2-1 victory over second-seeded Oregon Saturday afternoon in Oklahoma City. Mike White’s Ducks finish the season 51-8 after reaching the WCWS for the third time in the last four seasons.

With runners on second and third and two outs, Dare flared a 1-1 pitch to shallow right field to give Alabama a 2-0 lead in the second. Oregon countered in the next half inning thanks to Janie Takeda’s two-out RBI single off the glove of Alabama second baseman Demi Turner for its only run of the game.

The Ducks loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, but Lauren Lindvall grounded out to second to end the threat. Takeda singled with one out in the fifth but was caught stealing as she slid past second base and couldn’t keep her hand on the bag.

Alabama pitcher Alexis Osorio was magnificent down the stretch for the Tide, striking out five of the last six batters she faced. The freshman from Riverside, Calif., allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out nine in her complete-game victory.

Two-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Cheridan Hawkins was nearly as impressive for the Ducks, conceding three hits and three walks in six innings while striking out seven. She retired eight consecutive batters from the second to fifth innings and allowed just one hit after Dare’s two-run single in the second.

This is the second consecutive year Oregon has been eliminated by Alabama in the WCWS. The Crimson Tide beat Oregon 2-0 to knock out the Ducks in the WCWS semifinals last season.

Takeda went 2-for-3 for the Ducks Saturday and ends her career with some pretty big accomplishments:

Pretty good team numbers as well:

Dare, Alabama’s No. 9 hitter, was 2-for-2.

UCLA

UCLA pitcher Ally Carda walked Morgan Estell with the bases loaded to end the game and UCLA’s season as the Bruins lost to Auburn 11-10 in a 10-inning drama-filled slugfest, ruining a gutsy 205-pitch performance from the two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Despite giving up 10 runs, 10 hits and 12 walks, Carda battled all night long for the Bruins, stranding numerous runners and keeping UCLA alive as long as possible. The well-conditioned Carda finally gave way for good in the bottom of the 10th, walking in the winning run with the bases loaded and nobody out.

But the nerves did not begin and end in the third inning of free softball. UCLA trailed 9-7 in the top of the seventh and was down to its last out before freshman Maddy Jelenicki hit a two-run homer to put the Bruins on top 10-9.

However, Auburn did not wait long to start its second rally of the evening. Carlee Wallace’s game-tying double drove in Haley Fagan, who singled to lead off the seventh. Auburn had a runner on third with one out, but UCLA turned a double play by throwing out over-aggressive runners at third and second on a ground ball to third.

The Tigers nearly won it again in the bottom of the eighth, but Haley Fagan just missed out on a walk-off grand slam, taking a pitch to the warning track in right field. 

Auburn went up 9-6 on Branndi Melero’s three-run homer in the fourth. UCLA countered with a single run in the top of the fifth but later loaded up the bases in the fifth and sixth and could not score either time.

Things were looking good for the Bruins early on as Gabrielle Maurice’s three-run triple keyed a five-run third inning to put the Bruins on top 5-0. But Carda was unable to get the shutdown inning in the bottom half, as Auburn soared ahead with a six-run frame highlighted by Wallace’s three-run double.

The Bruins tied it up at 6-6 in the top of the fourth thanks to Mysha Sataraka’s sacrifice fly.

The 21-run, 28-hit affair was the second-highest scoring game in WCWS history, trailing only UCLA’s 15-9 win over Arizona to clinch the 2010 WCWS title. That was coincidentally the last time the Bruins made the WCWS before 2015.

Perez went 4-for-6 with an RBI for the Bruins, while Carda had a 3-hit night. Maurice drove in four runs for UCLA in her 2-for-5 effort. Melero and Wallace both drove in four runs for the semifinals-bound Tigers, who got the win in the circle from Lexi Davis. Davis allowed five hits, three runs and three walks over 5.1 innings.

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