Ducks Have Answers To Sweep Utes
EUGENE, Ore. — Brooke Yanez battled to her second complete-game performance in two days, and Oregon's offense responded immediately both times Utah scored Sunday as the UO softball team completed a weekend sweep of the Utes at Jane Sanders Stadium, 5-2.
Yanez (9-0) was touched for runs in the first and fifth innings, but the Ducks came right back and put multiple runs on the board in the bottom of each inning. Haley Cruse and Alyssa Brito homered in the first, and Terra McGowan singled in two runs with two out in the fifth.
"All weekend long, and really all season," UO coach Melyssa Lombardi said, "they've been doing a great job of that: Every time the opponent scores, they always answer — always."
How It Happened: The Utes created an opportunity right from the outset, putting runners on first and second with one out in the first. Yanez got a swinging strikeout for the second out, but a run-scoring single gave Utah the early lead.
Cruse erased that on the fourth pitch she saw in the bottom of the first, launching a missile to left that cleared the fence to tie the game. Allee Bunker singled with one out and Brito followed with her eighth home run of the season, a high flyball that curled around the foul pole in left for a 3-1 lead.
"Once the other team gets a run, they find a way to answer back," said Yanez, who shut out the Utes in the second game of a double header Saturday evening. "They're constantly throwing punches throughout the game, which I love, I appreciate."
The offense came through in similar fashion four innings later. The Utes again got a runner into scoring position with two out, and another RBI single made it a one-run game, 3-2. But again, the Ducks responded.
Bunker was the catalyst with a one-out single, and Brito followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position. McGowan stepped to the plate with two out and went the other way, a single to right field that scored both Bunker and Brito.
"I just think our lineup is extremely deep," McGowan said. "We really fight for each other, and that's the best part of this team."
An error and a hit batter put two on for the Utes with one out in the sixth, but Yanez pitched out of the jam. She set down the Utes in order in the seventh to clinch the sweep for the Ducks.
"I thought she had to work a little bit more today," Lombardi said. "But she found a way."
Notables:This is the second-fastest an Oregon team has gotten to 20 wins in program history ... The sweep was the first by Oregon in a conference series since taking all three from California in May of 2018 ... The Ducks added two more two-out runs, bringing their total to 78 on the season ... Oregon has won 11 in a row, marking the third different winning streak of at least 10 games in the last two seasons ... Cruse extended her hitting streak to 13 games, going 2-for-4 with the homer in addition to a double ... McGowan is hitting .523 with runners in scoring position on the season after driving in two more runs today, giving her five RBIs on the weekend ... Brito turned in another multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and the homer ... Yanez tossed her fifth complete game of the season and second in a row, finishing the weekend with 17 strikeouts over 16.1 innings.
On Deck: The Ducks kick off a nonconference series against visiting Loyola Marymount with a doubleheader that begins Friday at 1 p.m.