Oregon Softball Battle Bruins in Marquee Series Matchup

Jordan Ingram Editorials

The battle for first place in the Pac-12 Conference and national polls was raging this weekend in a four-game series between softball powerhouses No. 3 Oregon Ducks and No. 2 UCLA Bruins in front of the largest crowds of the year at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene.

Yes, more than 600 lucky fans were in the stands to cheer on Oregon’s battle against the reigning Women’s College World Series (2019) champs.

The Ducks (27-4, 6-3 Pac-12) opened the series on Friday afternoon led by a flawless performance at the plate from Allee Bunker, who went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run, and the talents of junior left-handed pitcher Brooke Yanez, who delivered a two-hit shutout performance to defeat UCLA 3-0, handing the Bruins (21-2, 5-1 Pac-12) their first conference loss of the season.

In Saturday’s games, the Bruins bounced back, winning both games to complete the doubleheader sweep.

Upon entering this weekend’s marquee matchup between two top-three teams, Oregon was riding a 15-game winning streak before it was snapped by the in-state rival Oregon State Beavers on April 2nd in Corvallis.

Since the beginning of the season, Oregon’s bats have been out of control, outscoring its opponents 187 to 52, according to UO Athletics.

Bunker has been explosive, leading the team with a .400 batting average that includes 38 hits, six home runs and 33 RBIs on the season.

Alyssa Brito (.397) is second on the team in offensive output with 29 hits, nine home runs and 28 RBIs. As a team, the Ducks have recorded 37 home runs, allowing just 14 homers from opposing teams over 31 games.

From the circle, the Ducks have seen stellar performances led by team ace Yanez (14-0, 1.12 ERA). Oregon’s pitching corps boasts a 1.74 team ERA. According to UO Athletics, “Oregon is the only team in the country with three pitchers in the top 50 nationally in strikeouts per seven innings, with Makenna Kliethermes, Samaria Diaz and Yanez all with a strikeout rate above 9.30.

Despite two losses in Saturday’s doubleheader, the Ducks continue fighting for control of the conference. Tomorrow the Ducks play for a chance to finish with a series split series against UCLA at 12 p.m. at Jane Sanders Stadium (Pac-12 Networks).

Jordan P. Ingram
San Diego, California
Top Photo By: Gary Breedlove

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