On Sunday Afternoon the #7 Arizona Wildcats split the weekend series against Pac-12 foe #12 Oregon 2-0. The series comes to a close after Oregon took the first game on Friday, then both teams split Saturday’s double-header. Today’s victory improves Arizona’s win total to 35, and gives Oregon their seventh home loss and their tenth conference loss for an overall record of 33-15.
Senior Day at the Jane started with a video tribute from former Duck softball players to this season’s seniors, and after the second inning, a Mother’s Day tribute was also played.
While both teams shared getting connection with pitches, nothing materialized into runs. Arizona finished with seven hits, but it was a two-run home run from SS Jessie Harper in the third that opened up the scoring and was ultimately the game’s only scores. However, it was a slow performance for both teams who each left eight runners on base.
“I think what was tough was that we constantly had base runners on… being able to clutch up, we talk about clutching up with runners on and that’s what was tough. I look and we left eight runners on and we can’t do that. We lost 2-0, we clutch up in those situations – the outcome looks a lot different for sure.” Coach Lombardi stated after the game.
Arizona ace Alyssa Denham enjoyed a great performance as she got the shutout, earning six strikeouts while conceding six hits. She upped her 2021 win total to 17. For the Ducks, it was just one of those days where the ball found defenders. Denham forced 11 groundouts today and the Wildcats defense defended without any errors.
Senior Samaria Diaz got the start for Oregon and pitched 2.1 innings before being pulled. She allowed the games only score, that two-run HR, before being relieved by Brooke Yanez. Yanez played well in the circle, allowing just three hits and earning four strikeouts in 4.2 IP.
While today’s result weren’t what the Ducks wanted, Coach Lombardi spoke highly about the senior’s dedication and influence on the program and what they mean to Ducks softball: “I am extremely proud of this senior group, it is an honor to coach them – seeing them every single day. I look at them when they first arrived and each one of them where they started here and how much they’ve grown, how much they’ve impacted this team, this university. Just their fight that they have and being united with each other, I can’t say enough about how special this group is. There’s no question that they are definitely leaving a mark on this program.”
This weekend saw the Ducks and Wildcats struggle offensively as both teams pitched and fielded well. In the Ducks’ wins, they scored a total of three runs, and in Arizona’s wins, just six, while there were just a total of three errors in the four games.
The Ducks will look to continue to fly this season, as they play Washington next weekend in a four game series in Seattle to finish the regular season. As far as post season implications go, the Ducks will hope to be a host site for the NCAA tournament. They are also banking on an impressive record through a tough schedule hoping it leads to good seeding.