College softball games this time of year are primarily upscale practices with umpires. They give teams a chance to limber up, enjoy a beautiful Fall day with their teammates and get some work in on the softball diamond. Players coach first base, “ghost runners” are sometimes used to simulate game situations and Coaches have a chance to evaluate everyone on their roster. The point is to get some game action, so softball’s “mercy rules” are ignored.
So it was today for Oregon, as the Ducks hosted College of the Siskiyous and Oregon Tech at the Jane. Oregon used three of the four pitchers on the roster (Stevie Hansen did not throw), featured different Battery combinations and the Ducks only 2022 Freshman recruit and all-name team nominee Remmington Hewitt also got into the action in the second game.
In the first game against Siskiyous, Oregon got off to a fantastic start, scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the first, and then never taking their foot off the gas, ultimately winning the game 30 – 2 in seven innings. Oregon hit 3 home runs, and had several triples as Siskiyous pitchers frequently struggled to throw over 50 mph. Coach Lombardi, who is known for coaching aggressive base-running, turned the Ducks loose on the basepaths and Oregon stole several bases. Both Vallery Wong and newcomer Alyssa Daniell, a transfer from Loyola Marymount, stretched solid hits into extra bases. Allison Benning got the start in the circle for Oregon and pitched four solid innings, only surrendering a run when Siskiyous began the 4th inning with “ghost runners” on first and third. She gave up no hits and just one run on a wild pitch in the 4th and Oregon led 23 – 1 at the end of that inning. Benning also served as the Designated Player, hitting a 2-run dinger in the Ducks 10-run second inning.
Morgan Scott, a transfer from UNC-Greensboro, came on in relief of Benning in the top of the 5th, and also faced a ghost runner, this time starting on second base. That runner scored Siskiyous second run of the game after moving to third on a sacrifice bunt and then also scoring on a wild pitch. Oregon, of course, also benefitted on offense from the addition of ghost runners which began for both team in the third inning. Oregon scored 7 more total runs in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings to reach the final 30 – 2 scoreline. Benning and Scott combined for a no-hitter.
Second Game – Oregon led off the second game – this one against Oregon Tech – with Reagan Breedlove in the circle. OIT looked like a much more talented team than College of the Siskiyous, but still could not get much going against Breedlove. OIT was 50-13 last year, and 25-5 in Conference, but plays competition well below what Oregon typically faces in the regular season. Oregon Tech managed to get a couple of runners on in the first due to a Duck bobble and a throwing error on Breedlove but could not score either runner. In their half of the first, the Ducks again put up four runs, with Terra McGowan providing a 2-run single to left, Benning a sacrifice groundout to score a run from third, and another coming in on an OIT wild pitch.
Breedlove set the Owls down in order in the second and third and the Ducks plated two more in the second on a double to deep left field by Ariel Carlson and 2 more in the third on a 2-run home run from KK Humphreys. Tehya Byrd made a great stab and kneeling throw that Humphreys dug out of the dirt for a nice out in the top of the third.
The Ducks continued to play long ball with the Owls as Terra McGowan and Benning each hit their second home runs of the day as the Ducks took a 10 – 1 lead in the 4th inning. In the bottom of the 6th, Humphreys hit her second 2-run homer of the game and Carlson also hit a 2-run shot to give the Ducks their final margin – 14 – 2.
For the two-game set, Oregon scored 44 runs and pounded out 41 hits while giving up only 4 runs and 6 hits. The Ducks will play two more games at home this coming week, facing Western Oregon on Tuesday evening and Southern Oregon next Sunday.