April 22, 2017
TUCSON, Ariz. – The No. 6 ranked Oregon softball team jumped out to an early lead over No. 2 Arizona on Saturday, but the Ducks were unable to keep the potent Wildcat offense at bay in a 10-7 loss at Hillenbrand Stadium in the second game of the three-game series.
The Wildcats (45-3, 15-2 Pac-12) used a five-run second inning to erase the Ducks’ early lead before scoring in each of the final three innings, and have now taken the first two games of the weekend to win the series. The Ducks (37-6, 10-6) managed seven runs on 10 hits to break out of a recent slump at the plate, with Gwen Svekis leading the way with a pair of home runs and five RBIs.
How it Happened: Svekis got the slugfest going early on for the Ducks, ripping a three-run home run in the first inning to give Oregon a 3-0 lead after Danica Mercado singled and Nikki Udria walked. The Wildcats responded with a run in the bottom half with a walk, single and an Oregon error.
Arizona erupted for five runs in the second inning to surge ahead, using three hits and another Duck error. The Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs against UO starter Maggie Balint (16-3) before freshman Miranda Elish took over in relief, and Arizona followed with a two-run single, an RBI fielder’s choice and a two-run double.
The Ducks answered with two runs in the third to pull within a run, and again it was Svekis providing the fireworks. The Ducks’ catcher blasted a two-run homer to make it 6-5, Arizona, giving her two home runs and five RBIs in her first two plate appearances. The Wildcats managed runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to push their lead back to three.
Trailing 8-5, the Ducks once again mounted a rally with two runs in the sixth inning to make it a one-run ballgame. Alexis Mack singled with one out to force an Arizona pitching change, and Mercado belted a two-run homer to make it 8-7, Arizona. The Wildcats would respond with two runs in the bottom half to give themselves a three-run cushion once again. The Ducks brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but was unable to push anything across as the Wildcats closed the door for the win.
In the Circle: Oregon suffered a rare off-day in the circle. Balint took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, with four walks in one inning of work. Elish allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in five innings of relief.
At the Plate: Svekis enjoyed a great day at the plate, driving in a game-high five runs with a pair of home runs while finishing 2-for-3. Mercado went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, and Lauren Lindvall also went 2-for-4. Udria went 1-for-4 with a walk to extend her reached-base streak to 37 games. She has failed to reach base just once this season.
Up Next: The Ducks and Wildcats will play the final game of the three-game series at noon tomorrow on ESPN2.