Ducks Sweep Doubleheader, Move to 4-0
PHOENIX – Oregon swept a doubleheader for the second straight day to start the season, making quick work of Weber State in an 8-0 win, then erasing an early deficit in a 5-3 win over host Grand Canyon in the nightcap Saturday at the GCU Kickoff Classic. The 10th-ranked Ducks improved to 4-0 on the season behind more dominant pitching and some clutch two-out hitting in both games of the doubleheader.
Game 1 (Oregon 8, Weber State 0, 5 inn.): Haley Cruse delivered a pair of two-run doubles, including the game-ending hit in the fifth inning, while Jordan Dail (1-0) tossed five efficient shutout innings in an 8-0 win over Weber State.
How it Happened: Allee Bunker got the Ducks on the board first, continuing her hot start by driving in Cruse, who led off the bottom of the first with a walk, making it 1-0 after one.
The Ducks (4-0) added to the lead with three runs in the second inning, all of which came with two outs. After a groundout and flyout opened the frame, Mya Felder singled and Lexi Wagner doubled to put runners at second and third for Cruse, who plated both of them with a two-run double to left center. Rachel Cid followed two batters later with a run-scoring single up the middle, making it 4-0.
Felder made it 5-0 in the third inning with an opposite field solo shot for the Ducks' first homer of the year. After a scoreless fifth inning, Lexi Wagner made it 6-0 in the fifth with a sacrifice fly to score Hanna Delgado and bring Cruse to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs. She took a 2-1 pitch back up the middle for her second two-run double of the day, driving in Deijah Pangilinan and Vallery Wong.
Dail was in control from the start, pitching to contact to record 11 of her 15 outs via ground ball. Despite retiring Weber State in order just once and finishing with no strikeouts, she never worked with more than one runner on base at any point in the game while just one runner got past second base.
Game 1 Notables: Seven of Oregon's eight runs came with two outs … Cruse recorded multiple doubles for the second straight game while matching a career-high with four RBIs … Coming into the season, she had multiple doubles in a game just once … Dail picked up her ninth career shutout and seventh of her Oregon career … Felder's homer was 15th of her career and third as a Duck.
Game 2 (Oregon 5, Grand Canyon 3): Oregon faced its first deficit of the young season after Grand Canyon went up by a pair early on, but the Ducks battled back with five runs in the middle innings to win 5-3 in the nightcap of the doubleheader. Brooke Yanez struck out 10 while walking none to get her second win of the weekend, while Alyssa Brito delivered three huge RBIs to pace the Oregon offense.
How it Happened: The Lopes struck first with a pair of runs in the second inning off Yanez. After a flyout started things off, GCU got three straight singles, the last of which scored one run before a throwing error on the play added another. The Lopes threatened to add more with a runner on second and one out, but Yanez (2-0) got a groundout and strikeout to prevent further damage.
Oregon tied things up with two runs of its own in the top half of the fourth. Terra McGowan led off with a single before Delgado was hit by a pitch and Felder drew a walk to load the bases. Alyssa Brito came up with two outs and hit one just past the shortstop into left center field for a two-run double, plating McGowan and Delgado.
The Ducks went in front for good by batting around and scoring three runs in the top of the sixth. Cid led off with a double off the wall and came around to score on an RBI single by Bunker to give Oregon a 3-2 lead. After a walk and fielder's choice, Brito came through again, this time with a run-scoring single to drive in Bunker. Cruse capped off the scoring by drawing a bases-loaded walk to end a 10-pitch at-bat and make it 5-2.
GCU made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, leading off the frame with a homer to center to cut the lead to two. Samaria Diaz replaced Yanez in the circle and got the first two she faced, before stranding a two-out error at first, picking up the save.
Game 2 Notables: Brito delivered her first two collegiate hits, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs … Yanez struck out double-digit batters for the fourth time in her Oregon career and 20th time overall … It was just the second time in her career that she fanned 10-plus without allowing a walk … Bunker drove in a run for the fourth straight game to start the season.
Quotable: Head coach Melyssa Lombardi
On coming from behind in the GCU game…
"It says a lot about them. It shows their fight and shows that they compete every pitch, every inning. I don't want to ever get behind, but to see them get behind and come back like that and work together was great … We still have a lot of work to do but it's early."
Junior Brooke Yanez
On battling back in the GCU win…
"I think we grinded really well today, and showed that we're fighters and won't take no for an answer. I really liked the competitiveness I saw throughout the team, and they produced for me so I just wanted to go out and produce for them."
Freshman Alyssa Brito
On getting her first three career RBIs in such big spots…
"It was really refreshing especially because the top of the order has been kind of carrying us throughout the weekend, so it was nice to pick them up. It was also nice to produce for Brooke because she was having a really good game."
Overall Notables: This is the fifth straight season that Oregon has started 4-0, and the sixth time in the last seven dating back to 2015 … The Ducks scored 10 of its 13 runs in the doubleheader with two outs ... Oregon pitching has combined for 25 strikeouts and just two walks on the weekend while allowing their first runs of the season in the GCU game … All five of Cruse's hits are doubles, giving her one more than all of last season already through four games … Cruse and Bunker have combined to drive in 15 of the team's 30 runs … The top four in Oregon's order again did major damage, as Cruse, McGowan, Cid and Bunker are hitting a combined .422 with 22 RBIs and nine doubles.
On Deck: The Ducks will close out their opening weekend of play at the GCU Kickoff Classic with a rematch with Montana, Sunday at 8 a.m. PT.
Schedule Note: Oregon's two games against Cal Poly have been cancelled, due to the Mustangs not having the minimum number of available players. Currently, the Ducks are scheduled to play at Fresno State on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.