Oregon defeats Softball, 10-6, to advance to Women's College World Series.
May 27, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior Jessica Moore tossed her second complete-game effort of the day and junior right fielder Samantha Pappas hit a two-run homer and went 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead the No. 12 Oregon softball team to a 10-6 victory against No. 8 Texas in the decisive game three of the NCAA Austin Super Regional on Saturday night at Red and Charline McCombs Field.
By virtue of Oregon's doubleheader sweep on Saturday, the No. 11 national seed Ducks (44-16) advance to the Women's College World Series for the second time in program history and first since 1989. Oregon will face No. 3 national seed Arizona State in the opening round of the WCWS, with game date, time and television information to be announced later. Texas, the No. 6 national seed, concludes its season with an overall record of 47-13.
After working 8.0 innings and throwing 126 pitches in Oregon's 5-4 extra-inning victory earlier on Saturday afternoon, Moore (32-13) went the distance again in the nightcap to earn the victory in the circle for the Ducks. She allowed six runs on nine hits while striking out three and walking two. Moore threw a total of 237 pitches combined in 15.0 innings of work during Saturday's two contests.
Junior Blaire Luna (22-6) took the loss for the Longhorns, tossing 1.2 innings and allowing five runs on three hits while striking out two. Sophomore Rachel Fox relieved Luna in the second inning and worked 1.1 innings, surrendering three runs on five hits while striking out one. Junior Kim Bruins tossed the final 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on three hits while striking out three and walking one.
Oregon, playing as the home team, took control of the game with six runs on five hits and an error in the bottom of the second. Christie Nieto was hit by pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a double to left center by Alexa Peterson. Moore reached on a fielder's choice and Nieto beat the throw home from third to score the first run of the contest. With one out and runners on the corners, Lindsey Chambers hit a sac fly to center to bring home Peterson. Janie Takeda followed with a single to left center, and an error on the play by centerfielder Courtney Craig allowed Moore to come home for a 3-0 lead.
Samantha Pappas continued the damage with an RBI single that scored Takeda from second, and Pappas advanced to second on the play. After Pappas stole third, Kaylan Howard hit an RBI single to third to plate Pappas. Kelsey Chambers added an RBI double to right center to bring home Howard and give the Ducks a 6-0 cushion.
Texas rallied for three runs on five hits in the fourth. Lexy Bennett and Nadia Taylor recorded back-to-back singles with one out. Craig reached on a fielder's choice and Taylor was forced out at second, putting runners on the corners with two outs. Bruins delivered an RBI single to plate Bennett with UT's first run of the night. Torie Schmidt hit an infield single to load the bases, and Mandy Ogle drew a walk to bring home Craig. Pinch-hitter Gabby Smith reached on an RBI single to third to score Bruins and cut the lead to 6-3. Moore got out of the bases-loaded jam without further damage by retiring Brejae Washington on a groundout to short.
Oregon answered with four runs on five hits and an error in the bottom of the fourth. Takeda led off the frame with an infield single and Pappas followed by lining a 3-2 pitch over the wall in center for a two-run shot, her ninth homer of the year, to give the Ducks an 8-3 cushion. Bruins then replaced Fox in the circle for the Horns, and Howard hit a triple off the wall in left field. Kelsey Chambers hit an RBI infield single to plate Howard, and Chambers advanced to second on a throwing error by Bennett. With runners on second and third and one out, Moore delivered an RBI single to bring home Nieto and extend the lead to 10-3.
Texas closed out the scoring with three runs in the seventh, all coming on solo home runs. With one out, Taylor Hoagland launched a shot over the wall in center field for her 18th home run of the season. Bennett followed with her 13th of the year over the left field wall. After Taylor flied out to center, Craig added her seventh of the season over the wall in left field. Bruins reached and advanced to second on a dropped fly ball by left fielder Allie Burger, but Moore ended the contest by retiring Schmidt on a foul out to left.
Howard, Kelsey Chambers, Peterson and Takeda each added two hits apiece to help lead Oregon's offensive attack. Bennett went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Taylor added two hits to pace the Longhorns' offense.
2012 NCAA Austin Super Regional
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
Head Coach Connie Clark
Opening Statement: It's obvious very painful to come up a little bit short. I am extremely proud of the fight and the tremendous season that this team had. The seniors have been amazing since the first day they arrived on campus. This is a special group sitting here. They're going to be missed greatly. Give credit to Oregon. They are a very good ball club. We had some opportunities in that first game, and I think we battled well till the very end. We just didn't get the outcome that we wanted.
On the difference between yesterday's game and today: I don't know if there is a big difference. It was a matchup of two great teams. We came out and battled it out. That first game couldn't have been any more intense. The emotions were flying, and it was very close down to the wire. Yesterday started off that way too. I think it was just a matter of creating some breaks and getting timely hits. It ended up going their way tonight.
On Blaire Luna: I think she might have been over-thinking it a little in that first game today. We talked about that with her. When we were able to get into the game a little further, we wanted to go with Rachel Fox to give Oregon a different look. Obviously Fox did a great job of keeping us in the game. We were obviously trying to focus on winning the first game and not having to play two today. I felt Blaire was ready to start game 2. I spent some time with her in the bullpen between games. Her stuff looked pretty good, but Oregon had several looks at her and made some plays happen. They put some runs up early, and we had to make some changes.
On Oregon's discipline at the plate: I think they improved throughout the weekend. The more they saw Blaire, the better they got with adjusting to her pitches. She tried to mix a few things up, but I think she was thinking about it a little too much instead of going out there and having command. You have to credit Oregon though. They did a really nice job with reading her pitches and squaring the ball up.
On the team's defense: I don't know if saying we were tight is the answer. Prior to the game we talked about coming out and playing with confidence. Obviously with there being two great teams, we knew it was going to be a battle.
Senior second baseman Lexy Bennett
On Oregon's six-run second inning: Obviously it's not easy to give up six runs and come back, but I think we did a good job of battling. We did get three of those runs back early. I think our team did a good job of continuing to battle. Oregon's pitcher was very talented. She moved the ball around the strike zone well. I thought we did a very good job adjusting, but we just didn't get the outcome we wanted in the end. The three homeruns in that last inning showed that we weren't just going to lie down and let them have it.
Senior outfielder Courtney Craig
On scoring three runs in the last inning: I think it showed a lot about this team. Throughout this season this team has showed a lot of fight and grit. We battled back through Regionals against some odds. We showed that we weren't going to lie down and let people run over us. We were determined to keep battling until the end of the game.
Senior third baseman Nadia Taylor
On Oregon's pitching: Well their pitcher moved it around the strike zone really well. I think she had a great drop ball. She also mixed in her changeup a little bit. I think she did an outstanding job this weekend, but I think we could have come out on top if we would have adjusted a little better at the plate.
On the team's accomplishments: I think we did a great job bringing this team together this season. Our motto was `determine to be the one' and I think we did an outstanding job this year as seniors. We put this team on our back this year, and even though we fell short I know this season was definitely a success for us.
2012 NCAA Super Regional
Head coach Mike White Opening statement: We want to thank Texas and the community for being great hosts. They certainly bent over backwards for us in the tournament by allowing us to practice on the field and that's great. We'll certainly reciprocate when we get the opportunity to do so. Their team, you can't say enough about them. They fought and fought and fought, even down by seven runs in the seventh inning to come up with three home runs. I know they tried hard, it just didn't work out and we had the breaks today.
On the importance of momentum: This game is about momentum. It really is. The games we've lost this year are games where we've lost momentum and it's hard to get it back. That was one of the things we talked about was trying to carry momentum into the next game from that first game, that big win. Come out early and try to get on top early and put the pressure on them and it worked. My hat's off to our pitcher Jess Moore. She really worked extremely hard. I know she's going to be tired and sore. It's been a long two or three weeks for her. She's pitched every game pretty much in the Regionals.
On whether or not he considered taking Jessica Moore out in the second of the day's games: I thought about possibly seeing how she was doing, but she kept throwing hard. It looked to me like she was challenging, but that's what I wanted her to do. I wanted to challenge the hitters and the worst thing you could do there is walk them. We kind of traded hard runs for outs, but it was okay to do that in the situation.
On the scouting report on Texas pitcher Blaire Luna: Our thing coming into the week was patience and discipline. The first night we had ten strikeouts and quite a few of them were chasing pitches. We made her throw a lot of pitches, 135 pitches in the first night, but we didn't make it pay off in key situations. Today we really made her commit to the strike zone I thought and did a really good job of being disciplined and showing the patience that we had to do to knock her out of the game. When she gets behind she tries to meddle a little too much and we had to be disciplined. The first night we weren't and that was a different part of our scouting report.
On losing Kailee Cuico for the second game: It's always a big setback to lose your number four hitter. I don't care whose team it is. And she's a spirited kid, I mean she got a big hit in that first game and in my opinion it wasn't a dirty play, but (the umpires) made the call and it was a tight situation, so that was the call they had to make. Once it was done, it was done and it was up to us to put it behind us, go hit and do what we could. I'm so proud of the ladies for picking each other up and really, really fighting. Most teams that lose their number four hitter, it's going to be difficult, so my hat's off to my whole team and the way they played.
On whether or not he felt that Texas players should have been ejected in game one: That's the call of the umpire. I think at the time he said he was going to make a call on the first rough play and we had to be the first one to make a rough play I guess, so that was it. But they had to take control of the game, that's what they had to do so they're in control. It's an extremely hard game. Everyone played really hard. I don't think there's anything really dirty in any of those plays myself, but that's a judgment call so I think both sides just played hard.
Junior pitcher Jessica Moore On her performance today: Today I came out and needed to be stronger than I was yesterday and the team picked me up hugely today. It was just awesome going out there and pitching with a lead pretty much all day today. They got those three home runs in the last inning, but I was just going at them trying to get some outs, trying to make them mishit it. They're good enough hitters where you give them a good pitch to hit and they're going to hit it hard. Hats off to them, but I just went out there and fought and tried to go after every batter.
On the effectiveness of her changeup: It seemed like it was giving them a little bit of a problem in the first and early in the second game. They got a little more disciplined I would say with that changeup as the game went on, so it kind of made me have to battle a little harder.
On what motivated her to pitch all the way through the second game: We were told that Kailee (Cuico) wouldn't be joining us in that second game. It happened and we just kind of wanted to play for her a little bit because she wasn't able to take the field with us. Jokingly, (Coach White) asked how I was doing and I told him I would pitch until my arm fell off. I think every single one of us wanted to win for each other. Just going out there and wanting to play for Kai too, even though she wasn't able to join us even in the dugout, I think that was huge for us to go out.
On whether or not she felt Texas batters tightened up when Oregon took a six-run lead: Yeah, they got a little tense and you could kind of see the morale go down a little bit. The crowd wasn't as into it and the whole stadium just kind of took a step back to where before they were hooting and hollering and really into their players, which is an awesome environment for them to play in and have that fan base. I do feel like they got a little tense, but as the game went on I think they started to loosen up a little. Just like that last inning, they were able to hit some balls hard and they knew what they had to do and try to win that game and they were out there doing their best as well.
On maintaining her health in between games to perform well: We're not used to this heat, especially with the humidity and a little mugginess. Coach Dodd who works with our pitchers quite often has really worked with me and Karissa Hovinga this whole year. This is probably the best shape that any of our pitchers have ever been in, so I think that plays a huge part. We always said that it would pay off in the end so I guess today's the day that it really paid off. I had to throw a bunch of pitches and I was able to hang in there.
Senior shortstop Kelsey Chambers On battling Texas' pitcher Blaire Luna: I think once (our team) saw her yesterday, we kind of had a feel for what she had today so we practiced that and I think it paid off.
Sophomore catcher Alexa Peterson
On the collision with Taylor Hoagland at home plate: I just got the ball and Kelsey (Chambers) made a perfect throw. I just went to go make the tag and she was just going for it. I know a lot of players will just try to knock the ball out, that's just part of the game. So I just tried to hold it as tight as I could and just brace myself. I got a little angry afterwards, but I really just need to let that go. I mean really, both teams were just fighting as hard as we can. Everyone is going (hard) and sometimes our emotions get in our way and we get a little too pumped up, but that's just softball. We're going as hard as we can.