Skip to main content

Ducks Bounce Back With Victory

Mar 26, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — Challenged to bounce back from a dispiriting loss the night before, the Oregon softball team rebounded to beat California on Saturday at Jane Sanders Stadium, 8-6.

The Ducks (23-5, 3-2 Pac-12) were coming off a run-rule loss to the Golden Bears on Friday. That was a gut-check result for Oregon, and the Ducks answered the challenge Saturday even after falling behind in the first inning.

"I'm really proud of this team for being able to regroup after yesterday," UO second baseman Allee Bunker said. "It was tough, and this group hasn't experienced a loss like that. To come back and play tough, regardless of the score, I was really happy to see that."

Bunker had an RBI double and scored twice, extending her hitting streak to 18 games. Stevie Hansen (7-0) got the win in the circle, leaving after four innings with the Ducks up 6-3, then returning to record the final five outs of the game.

"We all came back today and we were not going to let what happened yesterday happen again," Hansen said. "… We were all like, OK, we're going to hit the reset button coming into today. We're going to come back today and never again let them do this to us — or anyone else."

How It Happened: Cal got the jump on the Ducks, with back-to-back homers by Acacia Anders and Sona Halajian after Hansen had retired the first two batters of the game. But Oregon answered in the bottom of the first — Kai Luschar, Bunker and Hanna Delgado loaded the bases with consecutive singles, Ariel Carlson tied it 2-2 with a two-run single and Vallery Wong brought Delgado home with Oregon's fifth hit of the inning.

"Even going down by two, coming right back, that's a good sign as a team for sure," said associate head coach Sam Marder, who managed the game while head coach Melyssa Lombardi was away from the team due to COVID protocols. "I was very proud of how we responded."

Bunker made it 4-2 in the second with a double to score Gabby Herrera. Bunker took third on an out then scored on a wild pitch — the first of four straight UO runs to come home on wild pitches. Luschar scored in similar fashion in the fourth, and Rachel Cid did so in the fifth for a 7-3 lead.

The Golden Bears mounted a late rally, just as they had done to blow open Friday's game. They scored three times in the sixth Saturday, needing only one hit to do so after two UO relievers hit three batters and walked a fourth. But Hansen returned to the circle with two on and one out, and struck out the next two batters on called third strikes framed by Wong to end the threat.

"I was like, these girls have worked their butt off this entire game," Hansen said. "Coming in again I was like, I want to fight for these girls."

Oregon had an answer in the bottom of the sixth, when Carlson walked, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on an out and scored on yet another wild pitch. Hansen pitched around a two-out single in the seventh to close out the victory.

Noteworthy: Delgado's first-inning single extended her hitting streak to 14 games. … Luschar hit leadoff for the first time this season, reaching base twice and scoring two runs. ... Hansen is the first UO freshman to start 7-0 since Maggie Balint went 16-0 in 2017. … Oregon has won 22 of its last 25 meetings with Cal, and will go for a ninth straight series sweep of the Golden Bears on Sunday.

Associate head coach Sam Marder, on Hansen's performance under pressure
"For Stevie as a freshman to do what she's doing right now, you're going to see throughout her whole career how much this is going to serve her. It's really impressive."

Second baseman Allee Bunker, on Oregon's aggressiveness on the bases
"Having those stolen bases and running the bases well is one of this team's strengths. To see that come together is really helpful. We weren't hitting the ball with runners in scoring position, so we have to take those free bases when we get them."

Up Next: The Ducks will look to clinch a series win when they host the finale against California on Sunday at noon.