AUSTIN, Texas – No. 11 seed Oregon beat No. 6 seed Texas 5-4 and 10-6 for its first super regional wins in school history Saturday and its second WCWS berth.
The Ducks (44-16) now look ahead to their first Women’s College World Series trip since 1989 as they erased the frustration of 0-2 super regional appearances at Missouri and Florida the past two years.
“We tried to come out and get on top early to put pressure on them and it worked,” Oregon head coach Mike White said. “My hat’s off to our pitcher Jess Moore. She really worked extremely hard. I know she’s going to be tired. It’s been a long two or three weeks for her since she’s pitched every game pretty much in the regionals.”
In the circle, Moore (32-13) earned complete games in both outings as she pitched every inning of the postseason except one. With her eight strikeouts Saturday, she now has 244 on the season, and bettered her previous school record for strikeouts from her freshman campaign (238).
“I knew I needed to be stronger than I was yesterday, and the team picked me up hugely today” Moore said. “It was awesome going out there and pitching with a lead all day.”
In the deciding Game 3, the Ducks racked up six runs in the second inning, then added four more runs in the fourth on their way to the four-run vicotry. Texas scored three of its runs in the fourth inning, and three more in the seventh.
In the second inning, Oregon’s first run came after the first three batters reached via a hit by pitch of senior Christie Nieto, double by sophomore Alexa Peterson, and an RBI fielder’s choice by junior Jessica Moore.
Senior Lindsey Chambers added the next run on a sacrifice fly, and freshman Janie Takeda followed with a double that knocked in another runner on a fielding error by the center fielder.
Junior Samantha Pappas added an RBI single to right field for another RBI, advanced to second on the throw, stole third base, then scored on an RBI single by Kaylan Howard to third base.
Senior Kelsey Chambers added the inning’s final run on a double to right center field.
In the fourth inning, Takeda and scored on Pappas’ ninth homer of the season.
Howard followed with her team-leading second triple of the year, and 10th single by Kelsey Chambers. Senior Christie Nieto walked, and the two runners advanced on stolen bases to second and third base. Moore added another RBI on a single to right field.
At the plate for Oregon, four players had multiple hits – Pappas (2 for 4, 3 RBI, HR), Howard (2 for 4, 1 RBI), Kelsey Chambers (2 for 4, 2 RBI) and Peterson (2 for 4).
Combining for 11 hits and 10 runs, the Ducks forced Horns to use three pitchers in the circle for the third time this season.
Junior starter and All-Big 12 pick Blaire Luna struck out two, walked none, allowed three hits, and her five runs allowed were earned.
Rachel Fox followed and pitched the next 1.1 innings, struck out one, walked none, gave up five hits, and all three of her runs allowed were earned.
Kim Bruins pitched the final 2.2 innings, struck out two, walked one, allowed three hits, and both of her runs allowed were earned.
The Longhorns scored three runs in the fourth, thanks to singles by Taylor Hoagland, Nadia Taylor, Bruins and Torie Schmidt, walk by Mandy Ogle and final single by Gabby Smith.
Texas added three runs in the seventh on back-to-back homers by Hoagland and Bennett to center and left field, respectively, that were followed out of the yard two batters later by Craig.
Oregon’s first round opponent at the WCWS will be defending national champion and No. 3 seed Arizona State – a team the Ducks split a season series with this year. UO took a 3-0 win and suffered a 7-4 loss in Eugene, Ore., in early April.