Pitching, Defense Key Win In Fresno Finale
FRESNO, Calif. – Oregon stayed perfect on the season behind yet another dominant pitching performance, while Haley Cruse saved the game with a diving catch with the tying run at second in the bottom of the seventh of a 2-1 win over Fresno State on Sunday.
How it Happened: Heading into the bottom of the seventh with a one-run lead, Samaria Diaz got the first out of the inning before a double put a Fresno State runner on second with one out. Diaz got a big strikeout for the second out, before Cruse laid out to make a diving grab in right center field to end the game and strand the potential tying run at second.
— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) February 21, 2021
Terra McGowan broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third, hitting a one-out solo shot to straight-away center to make it 1-0, Ducks. Fresno State answered with a run in the bottom half to tie it up. After a one-out single and sacrifice bunt, the Bulldogs' Keahilele Mattson came around to score from second on a Kaitlyn Jennings infield single, making it 1-1.
Alyssa Brito provided an immediate response for the Ducks, leading off the fourth inning with a deep solo shot to left field, putting Oregon in front for good, 2-1.
Raegan Breedlove got her second career start in the circle and turned in an efficient four innings of work to get the win. She recorded 10 of her 12 outs via ground ball and retired the Bulldogs in order in three of her four innings, only allowing the two base hits in the third inning. Diaz came out of the bullpen in the fifth and set down the first seven batters she faced, only running into trouble in the last before Cruse's catch ended it.
Quotable: Head coach Melyssa Lombardi
On the pitching and defense…
"I loved how great our defense was. I really liked what Raegan did today – she was constantly ahead and let her defense play behind her. Having Samaria come in close the game out and get us in-and-out of innings, and then seeing Haley make the game-winning catch – that's what it's about. It's about knowing that they've got each other's backs and I thought they showed that today."
OF Haley Cruse
On the confidence she has in the pitching staff…
"I felt pretty relaxed out there because our pitchers were dominating the whole game. I knew I wasn't really getting it done at the plate so I wanted to pick the pitches up on defense as much as I could and they came through for us."
RHP Samaria Diaz
On the play of the defense overall today…
"As a pitcher we know that our defense has our back and we have the hitters' backs. Seeing Haley make that catch at the end shows that we always trust our defense."
Notable: Oregon is off to a 7-0 start for the second straight season and for the sixth time in school history … Ducks pitching combined to allow just five hits over 14 innings this weekend with 18 strikeouts and just two walks … Breedlove and last night's starter Brooke Yanez combined to retire 24 straight Bulldog hitters between the end of Saturday's game and the start of today's … Ducks' pitching now has 50 strikeouts to just six walks on the year while holding opponents to a .125 batting average … Brito led the way offensively, finishing the weekend 4-for-7 with a pair of home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored.
On Deck: The Ducks return to Eugene before heading back to Arizona for a nonconference weekend featuring a pair of games against No. 1 UCLA and one vs. Utah starting Sunday.