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Pac-12 Softball

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Preview: Oregon heads to Oklahoma State for Stillwater Super Regional

May 24, 2023
Courtesy of Oregon Athletics

The Pac-12 heads into the Super Regional round of the 2023 NCAA Softball Tournament with the most teams still vying for a national championship. How can Oregon make it to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2018? Let’s take a look. 

Oregon (38-15) at No. 6 Oklahoma State (44-14) — Stillwater Super Regional

The Ducks were one of three teams to upset the regional host last weekend. And hopefully they packed their bags for multiple weeks as they head to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on the Cowgirls. 

Oregon’s bats caught fire at the Fayetteville Regional, scoring 29 runs in three games. The top of the lineup gets a lot of attention in the form of Allee Bunker and Terra McGowan but the others that stepped up are what makes Oregon dangerous. Tehya Bird and Ariel Carlson both homered twice in the regional. Kai Luschar has emerged as the team’s leadoff hitter. She has a .441 batting average and 13 stolen bases despite not becoming a full-time starter until the beginning of April. 

Morgan Scott does it all for the Ducks in the circle. The UNC Greensboro transfer has 13 wins and seven saves for the Ducks. She also wasn’t used as much as she typically is last weekend. Stevie Hansen pitched the most innings, picking up wins against Notre Dame and Arkansas. With this being a typical three-game series, expect Scott to get the ball for the first game and Hansen on the second night similar to how they did in Pac-12 play. 

Oklahoma State came into the season as one of the top teams in the nation and the Cowgirls definitely were for most of the season. However before regionals, Oklahoma State lost 11 of its last 14 games. Most of that had to do with a lack of offense. In 10 of those losses, the Cowgirls scored three or fewer runs. During that stretch, they still pitched well. Kelly Maxwell is one of the best arms in that nation even though she doesn’t have her gaudy numbers from last season. When these two teams played back in February, Maxwell tossed a two-hitter and struck out 15 batters. Oklahoma State also uses Lexi Kilfoyl and Kyra Aycock a lot in the circle as well. 

How can Oregon win

The Ducks offense has to continue to be opportunistic when given the chance against the Cowgirls’ pitching staff. Oregon scored 18 of its runs against Notre Dame (all five) and Arkansas with two outs. Bats not named Bunker and McGowan have to step up once again. For Scott and Hansen, they have to limit the damage from the top of the order. Oklahoma State leadoff hitter Rachel Becker has a .453 batting average and 43 walks this season. When she gets on, she typically gets knocked in by Kiley Naomi (59 RBIs) and Micaela Wark (50). 

Oregon players to know

  • RHP Morgan Scott – 2.61 ERA, 13-6, 7 SV, 86 SO, .259 B/AVG
  • RHP Stevie Hansen – 2.51 ERA, 20-6, 1 SV, 107 SO, .219 B/AVG
  • 2B Allee Bunker – .391 AVG, 1.076 OPS, 12 2B, 10 HR, 54 RBI 
  • C Terra McGowan – .327 AVG, 1.015 OPS, 9 2B, 12 HR, 50 RBI

Oklahoma State players to know

  • LHP Kelly Maxwell – 1.87 ERA, 15-5, 5 SV, 215 SO, .158 B/AVG
  • RHP Lexi Kilfoyl – 1.86 ERA, 14-5, 2 SV, 122 SO, .197 B/AVG
  • 2B Rachel Becker – .453 AVG, 1.218 OPS, 21 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 43 BB, 11 SB
  • SS Kiley Naomi – .360 AVG, 1.103 OPS, 15 2B, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 12 SB

Schedule

  • Game 1: Thursday, May 25, 6 p.m. PT | ESPN2
  • Game 2: Friday, May 26, 3 p.m. PT | ESPN2
  • Game 3 (if necessary): Saturday, May 27 | TBD

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