Wong Powers Sweep of UConn, UNC
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – No. 12 Oregon hit six home runs – three by Vallery Wong – to sweep Connecticut and North Carolina by identical 9-1 scores Saturday at the Carolina Classic.
Entering the weekend, Wong, a junior catcher, had one career home run. She has hit five homers in the last four games.
KK Humphreys also hit a grand slam for the Ducks against UConn (8-8), while Allee Bunker and Ariel Carlson went yard against the Tar Heels (10-9).
"Seeing my teammates hit the ball hard, it's just contagious," said Wong. "It makes me want to hit the ball harder. We just keep going back and forth which I love."
How it Happened (UConn): Oregon got off to a quick start with three runs in the bottom of the first. Bunker led off with a single and scored on Hanna Delgado's double to left. Wong hit her first home run of the day out to centerfield for a 3-0 lead.
The Ducks blew the game open in the fourth. Gabby Herrera singled and stole second. Hannah Galey walked. One out later, Delgado was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Humphreys then hit her third home run of the season – and the Ducks' first grand slam of the year – for a 7-0 lead.
"KK's swinging a really hot bat right now," said coach Melyssa Lombardi. "You can see her really settled in at the plate."
After UConn scored a run in the top of the fourth, Bunker and Delgado singled before Bunker scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning.
Wong led off the bottom of the fifth with her second home run of the game to end the contest via the run rule, 9-1.
"I love what Val is doing for us right now," said Lombardi. "She's coming up clutch at the plate. She's so relaxed, calm. Getting some really good pitches to hit. And I love what she's doing behind the plate. Overall, everything she's doing this weekend, I can't say enough."
How it Happened (North Carolina): Bunker led off the Ducks' second game of the day with one of the longest home runs of the season. She turned on a high pitch and drove the ball over the 30-foot elevated scoreboard in left field for her third home run of the year.
Two batters later, Wong launched on an opposite field shot for her third home run of the day.
The Ducks scored four times in the fourth inning. Galey led off with a double and Delgado drew a one-out walk.
Humphreys doubled to center to score Galey. Wong was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After a pitching change, Carlson drew a walk to force in a run. Humphreys then scored on a wild pitch and pinch runner Kedre Luschar scored on a fielder's choice by Paige Sinicki.
The Ducks capped the scoring with three more runs in the top of the fifth. Delgado reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Humphreys singled to center to plate Delgado. Following a groundout, Carlson smacked her team-leading seventh home run of the season to give Oregon a 9-1 lead.
Jordan Dail retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth as the Ducks earned their second run rule victory of the day. Dail went five innings and gave up a run on three hits. She struck out six and walked one in improving to 6-1 on the season.
Noteworthy: Oregon has hit 14 home runs in its four games in North Carolina. Delgado is now 10-for-13 on the Carolina road trip, which has raised her batting average to .441. Bunker extended her hitting streak to eight games, while Humphreys' reached seven games. Makenna Kliethermes (6-2) went three innings for the win against UConn. Wong matched her career high with three RBI for the third straight game against UConn. Dail, from Forest, Va., had close to 100 friends and family in attendance on Saturday.
Outfielder Hannah Galey
"It's so exciting. I know our team has so much power. I'm just so happy that we're finally beginning to see how much power and how much strength our team has."
On Deck: Oregon finishes the Carolina Classic with a single game Sunday versus UConn (7 a.m. PT).
- www.GoDucks.com -