Ducks Score Four in the Seventh to Sweep Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – No. 11 Oregon scored four times in the seventh inning of game two to sweep a doubleheader from Utah Saturday at Dumke Family Softball Stadium.
Following an 8-2 win in the first game, the Ducks rallied from three down in the final inning to defeat the Utes, 7-6, in game two and win their first Pac-12 series of the year, two-games-to-one.
"Every time we're playing a Pac-12 series, we're playing a super-regional," said coach Melyssa Lombardi. "This weekend was our first super-regional. So to be able to go on the road and take two was huge."
Both Jasmine Williams and Paige Sinicki were 3-for-7 with three RBI on Saturday. Sinicki had a clutch two-out RBI that gave Oregon (21-4, 2-1) the lead in the seventh inning of game two.
"Paige is just gritty," said Allee Bunker, who belted her sixth home run of the season prior to Sinicki's hit. "She is probably the most gritty person on the team.
'"She just consistently puts up a fight every at bat no matter the situation," said Bunker. "I just know when she gets up in those situations, she's going to put a ball in play somewhere and give us a chance to win."
How it Happened (Game 1): Utah (16-13, 1-2) got on the board first with a run in the third, but the Ducks scored twice in the fourth and fifth innings to pull away before adding three runs in the seventh.
In the top of the fourth, Williams tripled to score Ariel Carlson, who doubled earlier in the inning. Hannah Galey then dropped down a perfect bunt single to bring Williams home, giving the Ducks a 2-1 lead.
"What I love about Jas is she's so versatile," said Lombardi. "We have her in the infield and the outfield, but any time we call upon her she's ready to go."
With two runners on and two outs in the top of the fifth, Sinicki came up with a clutch single to score both runners for a 4-1 Duck lead.
The Utes cut the lead to 4-2 on a home run in the bottom of the fifth, but Raegan Breedlove came out of the pen to induce a 5-3 double play followed by a fly out to left field to end the threat.
In the sixth, Rachel Cid walked and Bunker sent Cid to third with a single that extended her hitting streak to 14 games. Hanna Delgado then hit a RBI single up the middle that scored Cid.
The Ducks put the game away in the seventh thanks to a three-run home run by Allison Benning. Williams got things going with a two-out double before Tehya Bird drew a walk on four balls. Benning then drilled an 0-2 pitch over the fence in right field for an 8-2 lead. It was the first career home run for Benning.
"I'm so excited for Allison having the opportunity to do that – just taking a big hack and getting that home run," said Sinicki.
Breedlove gave up just one hit in three innings to earn her first save of the season.
How it Happened (Game 2): KK Humphreys staked the Ducks to a 1-0 lead with her fifth home run of the season in the first inning. The lead was short-lived as the Utes scored four times in the bottom of the first.
Oregon cut the lead to a run in the second inning when Sinicki singled and Williams sent a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left center for her first home run of the season.
Utah countered with two more runs in the bottom of the second and led 6-3 going into the seventh inning.
Cid led off the frame with a double and scored on Benning's RBI single down the left field line to make it 6-4 Utah.
Bunker then delivered one of her biggest hits of the season, a two-run homer that just cleared the wall in left center to tie the game at 6-6.
"Here I am year four and I've been in these types of situations many times," said Bunker. "As a veteran, I think it's my role to perform in those big situations."
After Bunker's homer, Delgado tripled to right field. With two outs, Sinicki fouled off two 0-2 pitches before dropping a double down the right field line to score Delgado with the winning run.
"It's awesome that we could just keep passing the bat and we're going to keep fighting to get those runs in," said Sinicki. "In that moment I was trying to at least get something in play and it ended up finding a hole and I'm super-happy about it."
Utah got its first two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but Stevie Hansen induced two fly balls around a strikeout to seal the win.
"That's really tough and I think that goes to show you how tough this team is and the fight we will show throughout the rest of the season," said Bunker.
Noteworthy: Bunker's homer in the second game extended her hitting streak to 15 games. With hits in both games, Delgado now has an 11-game hitting streak. In two pinch-hitting appearances, Benning was 2-for-2 with four RBI. Hansen was the winning pitcher in both games and is now 6-0 on the season. Kai Luschar got her first hit of the season, a pinch-hit double in the fourth inning of game two. Vallery Wong threw out her fifth runner of the year in the fourth inning of game two. Oregon and Utah played a doubleheader to complete their three-game series on Saturday because of a weather front expected to hit Salt Lake City Sunday.
Head Coach Melyssa Lombardi
"What I really liked about our team is we came into this day going 'were going to find a way to get two.' We didn't know exactly what it was going to look like, but we were locked in to find a way to walk away with two wins."
On Deck: The Ducks have Sunday off before playing at BYU Monday at 3 p.m. Pacific.
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