No. 6 Oregon softball swept the doubleheader against South Florida on Thursday in Tampa, Florida. The Ducks opened the day with a 6-1 win against the Bulls behind a stellar pitching performance from junior Megan Kleist. Kleist kept South Florida off the scoreboard for the first six innings on just one hit before the Bulls pushed a run across in the seventh inning. Kleist finished the game herself, throwing seven innings, allowing just one run on two hits, while striking out 10 and walking one en route to her fifth win of the season. The offense supported her with a run in the first inning when Shannon Rhodes singled in Jenna Lilley. The Ducks added three more in the fourth inning and one run in both the fifth and sixth innings. South Florida did not help its own cause as they committed three errors which allowed three unearned runs to score.
Game two featured more dominance by the Ducks. Oregon was held scoreless in each of the first two innings but sophomore pitcher Miranda Elish kept the Bulls off the board as well, allowing for the Duck offense to take over. Oregon scored a single run in the third inning, two more in the fourth inning, and piled on five in the fifth inning, thanks to a solo home run by Gwen Svekis and three-run home run by Cherish Burks that made Oregon run-rule eligible. Elish allowed a runner to reach second base in the fifth inning but catcher Mary Iakopo threw behind the runner between second and third and Lilley eventually tagged her out retreating back to second base. Elish ultimately threw a complete-game five-inning shutout, while allowing four hits, striking out two and walking one. She improves to a perfect 6-0 on the season.
Up next for Oregon is the Unconquered Invitational hosted by Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida. The Ducks battle with the host Seminoles and Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday before the tournament continues on both Saturday and Sunday. KWVA’s travel plans do not allow for a game story to be made, but below is a highlight collage from Oregon’s sweep of the Bulls.
– Marc Grandi