Series Finale Goes To UW
EUGENE, Ore. — Reigning Pac-12 pitcher of the year Gabbie Plain kept Oregon's bats quiet for the third day in a row Sunday, earning her third win of the series as No. 11 Washington beat the No. 19 Ducks 5-0 at Jane Sanders Stadium.
Plain followed up a five-inning shutout Friday by earning the win in relief Saturday, and she threw seven three-hit innings Sunday as Oregon lost its fourth series in a row against ranked conference foes.
"She's tough — she's really, really good," UO coach Melyssa Lombardi said. "She's one of the best pitchers in the country. I think for us, it's just understanding — I've been saying this — but just understanding, we know what our plans are. It's just having that mindset to execute the plan."
Oregon fell to 26-16 overall and 5-13 in conference, after going 4-2 the first two weeks of Pac-12 play.
"We're struggling, but we come out every day and keep pushing," outfielder Hanna Delgado said. "We're going through it right now, but we're showing up every day like it's a new day and giving it our all."
How It Happened: A day after allowing Washington's first seven runs on just two hits, the Ducks did a better job of limiting free baserunners Sunday. Makenna Kliethermes pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, and Oregon nearly got to Plain in the bottom half.
Delgado led off with an infield hit, and Terra McGowan singled her to third. When McGowan stole second, the Ducks had two runners in scoring position with nobody out. But the next three hitters were retired in order and Delgado was left stranded at third base.
Kliethermes ended up throwing all seven innings, going the distance for the fifth time this season and the first time in Pac-12 play. After five walks in less than two innings Saturday, she walked only two Sunday, though one of those plus a hit batter preceded a three-run home run by Washington in the second inning Sunday.
"To see Makenna go seven, I thought that was big," Lombardi said. "We needed to see her go seven. And so to see her do that and get out of some jams, I loved. It's just cleaning up the the free passes initially."
Delgado singled again in the third with one out, and she advanced on a fielder's choice by McGowan that saw both runners end up safely on base. But again, the Ducks couldn't take advantage.
Washington added runs in the fourth and sixth innings. In the fifth, the Huskies had runners at second and third but Kliethermes struck out the next batter, an at-bat that included a fly ball down the line in left originally ruled a two-run double but changed to a foul ball after the umpires huddled together.
Kliethermes also retired the next hitter to escape the jam, but Plain allowed only one baserunner over the final four innings, and surpassed 1,000 career strikeouts with two in the seventh.
Notable: Delgado's average is now up to .403 after she had two hits and also walked Sunday. It was her team-high 17th multi-hit game of the spring. … McGowan had Oregon's only other hit. … Freshman Allison Benning appeared in all three games of a conference series for the first time. … Bunker was held without a hit for the fourth time in April, after three instances total in February and March.
Head coach Melyssa Lombardi, on not capitalizing on the first-inning opportunity
"You've got to take advantage of it, for sure. But then you've also got to know that, OK, we didn't get it in the first (but) you've got six innings left. That's what I want to see. Yeah, we didn't get it in the first when we're knocking on the door. OK, then let's get it in the second; we didn't get in the second, OK, then let's get it in the third. I mean, if we put everything into the first inning, then that's what's going to happen — we lost in the first inning. I think it's understanding that we've got a lot of game left and to keep chipping away."
Head coach Melyssa Lombardi, on how the team is handling recent struggles
"You have to let it go. Like, if you take this series into the next series then I don't think it allows us to do good things. I think you have to be mature enough and have the mindset and the mentality to let it go. Learn from it; take the good that you got out of it and bring it with you. But everything else you gotta let go."
Up Next: The Ducks begin a three-game series against Oregon State at Jane Sanders Stadium on Friday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).