College Softball: Oregon sweeps doubleheader from No. 2 Florida St.
EUGENE, Ore. — The No. 5 Oregon softball team made an emphatic statement in its bid to host the first two rounds of the postseason, sweeping a doubleheader with No. 2 Florida State on Saturday night, by scores of 11-0 and 3-1 before a sellout crowd of 2,517 at Jane Sanders Stadium.
Sophomore Megan Kleist (17-3) allowed two hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings in the opener. Oregon (43-6) batted around in both the fourth and fifth innings for its first run-rule win over a top-five team since 2014. The nightcap had a different tone but a similar outcome, as the Ducks rallied from behind with three runs in the sixth to defeat the Seminoles (48-5-1) and make a winner of Maggie Balint (18-3).
"Obviously we're trying to stay on the momentum we've been building the last few weeks," UO coach Mike White said. "I think we're starting to turn the corner, finally feeling good about ourselves, so it's important to keep that going tomorrow."
Oregon 11, Florida State 0 (5 inn.): The Ducks went up 1-0 in the second when Shannon Rhodes reached on a two-base error, was sacrificed to third and scored on a fielder's choice. That would be all the offense Oregon ended up needing to provide for Kleist, who retired the final six in order, including striking out the side to end the game in the fifth.
"I thought it'd be a close two games," White said. "But in that first game, the sticks came to life and Megan kept them off the scoreboard."
But Oregon's bats were far from done after providing the 1-0 lead. The first seven batters reached safely in the third, with Gwen Svekis providing the big blow by tucking a two-run homer inside the left-field foul pole. With the bases loaded and Oregon already up 7-0 in the fourth, the Ducks got consecutive run-scoring singles from Jenna Lilley, Danica Mercado and Alexis Mack to blow the game wide open.
Oregon's last run-rule win over a top-five team was on March 29, 2014, when the No. 2 Ducks beat No. 5 Washington, 8-0 in five innings — also in the opening game of a doubleheader.
Oregon 3, Florida State 1: For a time it seemed FSU starter Jessica Burroughs (23-3) would handcuff the Ducks the entire nightcap. But Oregon broke through for three runs in the sixth, and Balint settled in after allowing a run in the second.
Rhodes was again a catalyst for the Ducks. She led off the sixth with a single, and scored the game-tying run when Mia Camuso followed with a double. Three batters later, Lilley brought in the go-ahead run with a single, and the Ducks tacked on some insurance thanks to a Florida State error. Lilley reached in all six at-bats across Saturday's two games.
"To get her bat going, driving in runs, to see her smiling again, that's great," White said. "I just love to see that."
The Seminoles had gone up 1-0 in the second inning. Balint gave up consecutive walks with one out, before Sydney Broderick drove in the game's only run with a single. The Ducks and Seminoles close out the series with a rubber match Sunday (5 p.m., Pac-12 Network).