Oregon defeats Softball, 5-4, in eight innings to force Game 3
May 26, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior second baseman Kaylan Howard hit a sac fly to bring home freshman center fielder Janie Takeda with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the No. 12 Oregon softball team (43-16) to a 5-4 victory against No. 8 Texas (47-12) in game two of the NCAA Austin Super Regional on Saturday afternoon at Red and Charline McCombs Field. With Oregon's victory in the contest that lasted three hours and 15 minutes, the two teams will play a decisive game three later tonight with the winner advancing to the Women's College World Series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:55 p.m. Central, and the contest will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Junior Jessica Moore (31-13) went the distance in the circle to earn the victory for Oregon, allowing four runs on four hits while striking out five and walking five. Sophomore Rachel Fox (14-2) took the loss for the Longhorns, tossing 5.0 innings in relief and surrendering two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out one and walking one. Junior Blaire Luna started for Texas and worked 2.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits while striking out three and walking five.
Takeda led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to third base and stole second. After Samantha Pappas fouled out to the catcher, Takeda stole third. Howard then flew out to left fielder Torie Schmidt, and Takeda beat Schmidt's throw home for the winning run.
Oregon, playing as the home team, got on the board early with a two-out rally that produced three runs in the bottom of the first. With two outs and no runners on base, Kelsey Chambers hit a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left field to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The solo shot marked the 10th homer of the year for Chambers and 36th of her career, one shy of the Oregon school record (37) held by Andrea Vidlund. After back-to-back walks by Kailee Cuico and Christie Nieto put runners on first and second, Alexa Peterson hit an RBI single that brought home Cuico. A throwing error on Peterson's single by Schmidt, who was attempting to throw out Cuico at home, allowed Nieto to come around and score Oregon's third run of the inning.
Texas responded with a single run in the top of the second. Courtney Craig led off the frame by lining a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left center for her seventh home run of the year and 32nd of her career (tied for fifth in UT history) to trim the lead to 3-1.
The Longhorns grabbed the lead with three runs on three hits in the third. Kim Bruins led off the inning with a single. Pinch-runner Brejae Washington then stole second and Taylor Hoagland walked. Lexy Bennett followed with an RBI double to right center to bring home Washington and advance Hoagland to third. Nadia Taylor reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second as Hoagland was tagged out at home trying to score on the play. With one out and runners at second and third, Craig lined an RBI single to right to score Bennett and move Taylor to third. The Horns then executed some trickery on the base paths, as Craig was thrown out at second trying to steal but Taylor came home safely on the play to give Texas a 4-3 lead.
The Ducks chased Luna in the bottom of the third but were not able to push across any runs. Fox replaced Luna with two outs and runners on first and second after Luna had issued walks to Cuico and Peterson. Fox got out of the jam by retiring Moore on a groundout to third.
Oregon evened the count at 4-4 with a single run on two hits and an error in the fifth. Chambers reached on an error by shortstop Taylor Thom and Cuico followed with a single to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a sac bunt by Nieto moved the runners to second and third, Peterson lined an RBI single to center to bring home Chambers. Peterson then stole second base to again put runners on second and third. Moore's bunt attempt went to Fox in the circle, and Fox's throw home to catcher Mandy Ogle was in time to tag out Cuico at the plate. Cuico was ejected from the contest for unsportsmanlike conduct. Fox then escaped the jam by retiring pinch-hitter Sara Goodrum on a groundout to second.
Oregon missed an opportunity to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Nieto led off with a single to right field and advanced to third when Peterson's fly ball to center fell out of the glove of Courtney Craig. Peterson then stole second to put runners on second and third with no outs. Moore popped up to short and reached first on a fielder's choice, when Peterson interfered with Thom on the play and was ruled out. Moore stole second to put runners on second and third again. Allie Burger then flew out to Schmidt in left field, and Schmidt's throw home was in time for Ogle to tag out Nieto and end the inning.