When it was time to deliver the clutch, the Oregon lineup failed to lead in runners.
Almost all of the batting order didn’t pass for the Ducks, who went 0-for-11, the worst of the season with runners in goal position, and tied a season-high with 11 at baseline. in a 5-1 loss to Texas State in the NCAA. Regional game at McCombs Field Friday night in Austin, Texas.
Seven different hitters found themselves empty with runners in goal position for Oregon (37-16), which failed two in each of the first four innings, one in the fifth and two more in the seventh. Only Haley Cruse (2 for 4) and designated players Maddie Hopper and Mya Felder, who each put out to start the innings, avoided leaving the runners on base and Cruse had one of only two UO hits with runners.
“I think this game is about momentum,” Oregon coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “When you have momentum that builds, you have to hang in there and build up. We left too many base runners. We had opportunities where we insisted on them and got to where we needed to be and we didn’t finish. You must finish. “
Second baseman Allee Bunker, who went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, didn’t think the Ducks were pressing home.
“I think some of us may have given too much thought to the plate,” she said. “Terra (McGowan) said it at the end; I think we have to play our game and not overthink what’s going to happen and adjust because we’re good enough to adapt to any pitcher, so don’t overthink it.
Sara Vanderford single to open the second and Hailey MacKay called with a two-run home run down center to give Texas State (39-12) a lead they would never give up.
Piper Randolph hit a single with an out and Tara Oltmann coached her with an RBI brace to make it 3-0 in the third.
Bunker scored Oregon at the bottom of the frame and Oregon tied with one out, but Meagan King of State of Texas forced Hannah Delgado to pull out and Alyssa Brito to fly right over a field of 3-0 to get out of the jam.
King (12-4) allowed three hits, one walk and hit a batter in 4.2 scoreless innings of relief to get the win, though her status didn’t do justice to how she knocked the Ducks off balance. with out-of-speed throws and pounded the area with first pitch strikes.
“I think she did a great job of getting what she wanted by shifting gears,” Lombardi said. “I know this team is also very, very good at home plate. I think you’re going to see a little different tomorrow for sure.
Brooke Yanez gave up five runs on seven hits and struck out 10 runs in 5.1 innings, but settled in after the run of the third. The junior southpaw retired eight in a row before the doubles with a back-to-back sixth strike made it 4-1.
“She has a fire under her and she hates it when people hit her,” Bunker said. “She has that courage and that competitiveness. I’m sure she’ll come out strong tomorrow and keep the fire she had after dropping the bomb.
The Bobcats advance to play the No. 12 national seed and host Texas (40-11) at 11 a.m. PT on Saturday with a trip to the regional final in play.
Oregon faces the tough road with no margin for error. He must avoid two eliminations on Saturday, starting against Saint-François (40-9) at 1:30 p.m. PT just to reach Sunday’s regional final, then win back-to-back in order to qualify for a Super Regional.
“It’s about fighting for your life now,” Lombardi said. “I know this team is not ready to go home. After the game chatting with them we are obviously not happy that we lost, but looking at them and looking them in the eye and seeing that this team is not over. We still have a long way to go.
“It’s important that you win this first; I think we all know that. But there is another way to do it. I’ve done it before, where we lost the first game in regional and we fought to come back. It can be done. You have to understand that we have to do some things a little differently. What we did tonight was not good enough. I think if we get our ball back it can be done.