No. 16 Kentucky moved one game away from a berth in the 2018 Women’s College World Series with a wild game one upset of no. 1 Oregon by a score of 9-6. In just its second loss at home, the Ducks witnessed the most runs of the season, the previous had been six, come across in a single game, the most errors, four, in the field to go with three long-balls ripped off the Wildcats’ bats. Oregon ran into trouble out of the gate as starting pitcher Megan Kleist gave up three runs on one swing of the bat from Alex Martens in the top of the first. With a single from Katie Reed and an 11-pitch walk for Abbey Cheek that put two runners on, Martens eighth home-run of the season made it a 3-0 lead for Kentucky. After giving up her most earned runs in a single inning all season, Kleist would surrender another when Reed would single in another score in the top of the second for a 4-0 lead, a deficit the Ducks had only seen twice this year and had been unable to overcome. Oregon answered back in the bottom of the second when senior Gwen Svekis launched one over the left-field wall for her 17th home-run to bring the score 4-1 in favor of Kentucky. The Ducks’ rally continued into the bottom of the third, pulling within one run after loading the bases and bringing in two runs with a throwing error and then a sacrifice fly from Svekis. That work to pull the game close would turn out to be in vain, as the Kentucky slugger Cheek hit her own 17th home-run of the season in the top of the fourth, another three-run shot given up by Kleist that would make it 7-3 Wildcats. Oregon would try and fight back, using some scrappy hits and another pinch-hit RBI from local freshman favorite Lauren Burke to pull within 7-5. Kentucky and their slugger Cheek would finally squash the no. 1 overall seed’s hopes in the series opener, blasting her second home-run of the game for two more runs in the sixth. The Ducks would muster one more score in the sixth thanks to a RBI double from D.J. Sanders, but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 9-6 in the game while Kentucky moves one win away from the Women’s College World Series. Listen below to a full game story and each team’s reaction to Thursday’s game one.
Game Story (by Alex Castle)
Oregon Press Conference (Head Coach Mike White, Catcher Gwen Svekis, and Outfielder Haley Cruse)
Kentucky Press Conference (Head Coach Rachel Lawson, Pitcher Autumn Humes, and Third Baseman Abbey Cheek)