WCWS: Washington and Oregon advance to semis, UCLA eliminated
Oregon and Washington advanced to the semifinals of the Women's College World Series Saturday in Oklahoma City. The Ducks will square off against Oklahoma, while Washington meets up with Florida for the right to play in the WCWS finals. Both Oregon and Washington need to win two games on Sunday to make it to the championship series. UCLA was eliminated from the WCWS following a loss to Washington.
Below are recaps from the four games involving Pac-12 teams today:
Women's College World Series Game 10: No. 3 seed Oregon 4, No. 13 seed LSU 1
After coming on in relief to save the Ducks' 2017 postseason run earlier in the day, Megan Kleist struck out nine hitters in a complete-game effort to lead Oregon to the WCWS semifinals with a 4-1 win over LSU Saturday night in Oklahoma City. Picking up its second win of the day, Oregon will now face 10th-seeded and defending champion Oklahoma at 12:30 p.m. PT Sunday afternoon, needing to again win twice in a day to advance to the WCWS finals.
— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) June 4, 2017
Kleist, who got the Ducks out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh of Oregon's 7-4 win over Baylor earlier in the afternoon, held the Tigers to five hits and did not walk a batter. The nine strikeouts are the most by a pitcher thus far in the 2017 Women's College World Series.
Alexis Mack went 3-for-4 with two runs to pace the Oregon offense and is now hitting a whopping .480 (12-for-25) in the NCAA tournament.
The Ducks went ahead on a one-out, two-run homer to left field from Gwen Svekis in the bottom of the first to give Oregon a 2-0 lead. The Tigers got their lone run of the game on a solo homer off the bat of Shemiah Sanchez in the top of the second before Oregon tacked on single runs in the third and fifth, with Nikki Udria's two-out single driving home Mack in the third and Mia Camuso's two-out single driving in Mack in the fifth. It was the second 2-for-3 game of the day for Camuso, who had five RBIs on Saturday.
LSU starting pitcher Allie Walljasper was chased in the third inning after giving up three runs on six hits. Carley Hoover got the final 10 outs for the Tigers, allowing one run on three hits. Sanchez had a 2-for-3 night at the plate to lead LSU, while Bailey Landry's infield single in the fourth was her 92nd hit of the season, setting a single-season LSU program record.
— LSU Softball (@LSUsoftball) June 4, 2017
LSU was 15-3 in NCAA elimination games since 2014 and 5-0 this season before losing to the Ducks Saturday night.
Oregon, making its fifth WCWS appearance, is two wins away from appearing in its first national championship series.
Women's College World Series Game 9: No. 6 seed Washington 1, No. 5 seed UCLA 0
In a game controlled by pitching aces Taran Alvelo and Rachel Garcia, Ali Aguilar's solo home run in the top of the sixth was the only hit necessary for Washington to beat UCLA, 1-0, Saturday night in Oklahoma City and eliminate the Bruins from the Women's College World Series. With the win, Washington advances to the WCWS semifinals and will play top-seeded Florida Sunday at 10 a.m. PT.
— espnW (@espnW) June 4, 2017
Aguilar blasted a 2-1 pitch well beyond the wall in right field to lead off the sixth inning for her 14th home run of the season and second in as many games after taking Oklahoma's Paige Parker yard in Friday's 3-1 loss to Oklahoma. The home run spoiled an otherwise superb evening in the circle from Garcia. Pitching her second game of the day, Garcia went the distance and allowed just the one run on five hits and a walk while striking out seven Dawgs. The NFCA National Freshman of the Year did a great job of limiting damage, as Washington got its leadoff hitter on base in six of the seven innings but was 0-for-12 with runners on base.
However, Garcia was outdone by Alvelo, who pitched a complete-game shutout for the Huskies, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out seven Bruins of her own. Two of Alvelo's strikeouts were dealt to Madeline Jelenicki, who had her first two-strikeout game of the season. The 2016 Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year and 2017 First Team All-Pac-12 pitcher was able to work out of trouble as well, getting out of the fourth unscathed after a wild pitch put a UCLA runner on third with one out and working around a two-out double in the fifth.
— UW Softball (@UWSoftball) June 4, 2017
Taylor Van Zee had the only multi-hit day of the game for Washington, going 2-for-3. Brianna Tautalafua and Zoe Shaw produced the only hits of the game for UCLA.
UCLA assistant coach Lisa Fernandez, who was suspended for the game against Washington due to an altercation with an umpire in the Texas A&M game earlier in the day, watched from the stands and was surrounded by UCLA fans wearing shirts with Fernandez's face on them.
Bruins fall 1-0 to Washington, ending their season with a 48-15 record and a third-straight trip to the Women's College World Series. pic.twitter.com/ziQGCBV9sZ
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) June 4, 2017
Women's College World Series Game 8: No. 3 seed Oregon 7, No. 15 seed Baylor 4
Mia Camuso hit two two-run doubles and Megan Kleist got Oregon out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh to help Oregon hold on to a 7-4 win over Baylor to eliminate the Lady Bears from the Women's College World Series. With the victory, the third-seeded Ducks advance to another elimination game against 13th-seeded LSU Saturday night at approximately 7 p.m. PT.
— GoDucks (@GoDucks) June 3, 2017
Coming on in relief of Maggie Balint with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the seventh and Oregon holding on to a 7-4 lead, Kleist struck out the first two batters she faced before getting Shelby McGlaun to hit a soft-tapper back to her to end the game.
Camuso provided the bulk of the offense for the Ducks, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Her first double came with two outs in the third to give the Ducks a 4-0 lead, while her second came on a grinding eight-pitch at-bat to give the Ducks some needed insurance and a 7-4 lead in the top of the seventh.
[Related highlights: Oregon softball scores early and often to eliminate Baylor]
Oregon starter Miranda Elish took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth with the Ducks carrying a 5-0 advantage before the Lady Bears attacked for four runs in the inning. After hitting the leadoff batter in the fifth, Elish gave up her first hit on a softly-hit ball up the middle and the throw to second was not in time to get the force (upon further review, it looked as though the throw might have beaten the runner to second). Baylor took advantage from there, capitalizing on an Oregon error to score its first run before tacking on three more. Elish was able to finish the fifth and wound up allowing four runs (all earned) on three hits and two walks.
Balint retired the Lady Bears in order in the sixth and allowed the first three Baylor hitters to reach base in the seventh before Kleist came in to save the game and Oregon's season.
Alexis Mack, Nikki Udria and Jenna Lilley also had two-hit games for the Ducks, who snapped a four-game WCWS losing streak. Oregon totaled 11 hits in all, a good sign for an offense that had scored just seven runs combined in its previous six WCWS games.
The game featured two rain delays in the second inning, which gave the Ducks ample time to play a game of musical chairs:
— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) June 3, 2017
Women's College World Series Game 7: No. 5 seed UCLA 8, No. 9 seed Texas A&M 2
Early offense and a five-run seventh inning propelled UCLA to a contentious 8-2 win over Texas A&M in an elimination game that saw Bruin all-time great and assistant coach Lisa Fernandez get ejected arguing a call. With the win, UCLA will face conference-rival Washington in another elimination game at 4 p.m. PT.
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) June 3, 2017
With UCLA leading 3-1, things got heated in the top of the sixth, when the Aggies got out of a first-and-third, one-out jam by running down two Bruins in throwing out Gabrielle Maurice at home and Bubba Nickles on a throw back to second. Fernandez, a Hall of Famer and three-time Olympic gold medalist, was ejected by home-plate umpire Erin Peterson after coming out to argue what she thought should have been an obstruction call at home plate, as Maurice took a glove to the face trying to get around the tag of Texas A&M catcher Ashley Walters. After getting ejected, Fernandez got up in Peterson's face and had to be separated from her.
A similar call went against UCLA in its WCWS opener, as the Bruins gave up the winning run to LSU on an obstruction call in the fifth inning when it was ruled that Bruin catcher Paige Halstead did not allow the runner to reach home plate.
"It's very simple. We have our players' backs. Gabby had to alter her path and she completely went around the catcher and she hurt her face trying to be able to do that," UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez told ESPN's Laura Rutledge about the play after the game. "That's what the rule is for, is to avoid those plays so we don't have that and the runner has a path. But once again, the most important thing is Lisa had Gabby's back and she will do that every single time; that's a big part of the Bruin family. But we got to make sure we let this one go...We gotta let it go and get to the next game."
[Related highlights: UCLA softball stays alive with rout of Texas A&M]
The incident seemed to spark the Bruins, getting a quick 1-2-3 inning from Rachel Garcia in the circle in the bottom half of the sixth before plating five runs in the top of the seventh, capped off by Garcia's two-run home run.
Kylee Perez went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs for UCLA, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first inning on her solo shot to center field. Delaney Spaulding, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, gave the Bruins a 3-0 cushion in the second with a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run single.
Garcia, the NFCA National Freshman of the Year, was dominant on the mound, scattering three hits and two walks over six innings of work while giving up one run and striking out two.
Texas A&M, now eliminated after being outscored 16-2 in its two games at the WCWS, got on the board in the fourth inning on a Riley Sartain solo homer to cut the Aggie deficit to 3-1.
UCLA, which has won 11 NCAA championships, snaps a five-game losing streak in the WCWS dating back to 2015 and avoided going 0-2 in Oklahoma City for the second straight year.