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Bunker Shot Lifts Ducks Past UNC Greensboro

Mar 3, 2022

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Allee Bunker hit a two-out two-run line drive in the bottom of the 10th inning to break the game open and lift No. 12 Oregon past UNC Greensboro, 12-4, Thursday at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
After Bunker's shot, the Ducks (12-3) tacked on six more runs in the 10th, including home runs from KK Humphreys and Ariel Carlson.
"That broke the game open," said coach Melyssa Lombardi. "To hit the ball as hard as she did down the line to score two – you could feel the momentum switch big time with that at bat.
"Bunk is clutch," said Lombardi. "Bunk loves the big-time moments. She's cool, calm and knows how to execute and come through. We needed that from her."
How it Happened: The Spartans (9-5) got on the board first with a 2-run home run in the second inning from Grace Loftin. That was the only hit surrendered by Oregon starter Makenna Kliethermes through the first five innings of the game.
The Ducks finally got to UNCG starter Morgan Scott in the sixth, when Paige Sinicki smashed a drive that bounced on the top of the centerfield fence and over the wall for her second home run of the season.
UNCG countered with a home run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead into the seventh. That's when things got interesting.
Hannah Galey reached base on a one-out walk and advanced to second on a Bunker single. Hanna Delgado, who had a career-high five hits on Thursday, singled to load the bases.
KK Humphreys then hit a cue shot off the bat that second baseman Jessie Shipley fielded and looked toward second, but with no one covering the bag, two runs scored on Humphreys' fielder's choice to tie the game and send the Ducks into extra innings for the first time this season.
"Actually I don't get nerves, I get more excited," said Humphreys. "We were not going to lose that game so you could feel all the energy throughout the dugout."
In the top of the eighth, Vallery Wong hit just the second home run of her career to give the Ducks their first lead of the game, 4-3. But the Spartans knotted things up with a home run in the bottom of the frame.
The 10th inning saw Oregon stage an eight-run two-out rally.
Pinch hitter Karissa Ornelas walked and Gabby Herrera ran for her. Wong singled through the left side and Galey walked to load the bases.
That set the stage for Bunker who hit a screamer down the third base line off the glove of third baseman Maycin Brown to score Herrera and Wong, putting the Ducks ahead for good, 6-4.
Delgado then drove in Galey and Bunker with her fifth hit of the night, making it 8-4. Humphreys followed with a homer to left for a 10-4 advantage.
With Rachel Cid, on Carlson smacked her team-leading fourth home run of the season out to left as the Ducks polished off an eight-run 10th inning.
"It was a two-out rally," said Bunker. "We're really good with two outs – I wish we could do it before two outs so we're not as stressed out, but I'm really proud of how this team fights to the end."
Noteworthy: Oregon's eight-run 10th inning was the most runs scored in a single inning since scoring nine in the first inning versus Portland State last season. Delgado's five-hit game was the first by a Duck since Courtney Ceo had five hits against North Carolina State on Feb. 8, 2014. She raised her batting average to .404. Raegan Breedlove gave up one run in three inning in relief to pick up her first win of the season. Humphreys had a season-high four RBI. Wong set a career high with three hits. Sinicki made a game-saving catch of a foul ball in the bottom of the sixth. The all-out dive for the ball down the line was the No. 4 play on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10.
Head coach Melyssa Lombardi
"Through the whole end of the game, this team refused to lose. There was so much grit and I loved how feisty they were. They were not going to lose."
On Deck: Oregon travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Carolina Classic Friday through Sunday. The Ducks will open the tournament by playing Penn State Friday at 10 a.m. PT.
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