Pair of Shutouts Send Ducks Into Regional Final
AUSTIN, Texas – Oregon kept its 2021 season alive, led by dominant pitching in a pair of shutout victories over Saint Francis and Texas State on Saturday at the NCAA Austin Regional. Samaria Diaz, Makenna Kliethermes and Brooke Yanez combined to blank both opponents in 7-0 and 2-0 wins.
The Ducks will now need to beat host Texas twice on Sunday in order to move on to Super Regionals. The two teams will play at 1 p.m. PT on ESPN2. With an Oregon win, both teams will play a winner-take-all game following the first.
"Big-time character," said head coach Melyssa Lombardi. "But that's been this team all year. Every time we've asked them to answer, they've always answered."
Game 1: Oregon 7, Saint Francis 0
Samaria Diaz and Makenna Kliethermes combined for a two-hit shutout while Oregon used a steady offensive attack to knock off Saint Francis, 2-0, in the first of two elimination games.
How it Happened: Diaz allowed just two baserunners and faced one batter above the minimum in her 5.2 innings pitched. She gave up a leadoff single then proceeded to retire the next 10 before allowing a single, which was then erased on an inning-ending double play. After setting down the next five, she gave way to Kliethermes with two outs in the sixth, and she set down all four she faced, striking out the side in the seventh.
The Ducks took advantage of some Saint Francis miscues to go in front 2-0 in the top of the first. After Haley Cruse reached on an error to lead off and Terra McGowan walked, Rachel Cid cashed both of them in with a two-run single up the middle.
Maddie Hopper made it 3-0 in the second inning with a RBI single to score Alyssa Brito, who singled and moved to third on an error to lead off the frame. The Ducks went scoreless in the third and fourth, but added another in the fifth. Cruse led off the inning with a line shot double off the left field wall and Allee Bunker cashed her in with a nearly identical two-bagger to make it 4-0.
Oregon put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh. Cruse helped account for yet another run, singling home Deijah Pangilinan to make it 5-0, before Shaye Bowden drove in Cruse with a sacrifice fly. Hanna Delgado capped off the scoring with a double to the right center gap, stretching the lead to 7-0.
Game 2: Oregon 2, Texas State 0
Brooke Yanez matched a program NCAA Tournament record with 14 strikeouts in a four-hit shutout of Texas State, leading Oregon to a 2-0 win in its second elimination game of the day.
How It Happened: Yanez found her way out of trouble all game long, working with traffic on the bases in all but one inning. She struck out a batter in every inning and fanned multiple Bobcats in all but one frame.
After walking the first two batters she faced in the second, Yanez threw out the lead runner on a bunt attempt, making a stellar play in front of the circle to get the runner at third. She fanned the next two batters to escape unharmed. Yanez again stranded a pair of runners in the third inning before leaving a runner on in the fourth through sixth innings.
Oregon struck first this time against the Bobcats, scoring two runs in the top of the second. After Rachel Cid and Hanna Delgado opened the inning with base hits and moved up a base on a bunt, Pangilinan beat out an infield hit to score Cid and make it 1-0. The Ducks capitalized on a Texas State miscue to score the next run, as Delgado came in to score on a throwing error on a stolen base by Pangilinan.
Overall Notables: Yanez moved into third on the Oregon single-season strikeouts list with 259 on the year … Her 14 strikeouts in game two tied the program NCAA Tournament record shared by Cheridan Hawkins (5/22/15) and Miranda Elish (5/17/18) … The 14 strikeouts are also tied for the second-most by Oregon as a team in a tournament game … Yanez turned in her 10th double-digit strikeout game of the year and the third in her last four starts … Pangilinan went 3-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored in the two games … Seven different Ducks drove in a run over the two games … Cruse's three runs scored in game one matched a program single-game record in a tournament game.
On Deck: The Ducks will take on Texas in the regional final on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. PT. With an Oregon win, the two teams will play again later in the day with a Super Regional spot on the line.