SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - On a day when the usually strong Oregon pitching staff was struggling, Alexa Peterson and the Ducks' bats led the way in a 12-7 win over Utah on Sunday afternoon in a Pac-12 conference game.
The No. 3 ranked Ducks (25-3, 2-0 Pac-12) scored 12 runs on a season-high 18 hits with one error while the Utes (11-11, 1-3) tallied seven runs on 12 hits with four errors.
Peterson went 3-for-3 with a grand slam, two runs scored, six RBIs and a walk. Her six RBIs are tied for the fifth most in UO history and are the most in five years, since Monique Fuiava had six RBIs against Cal Poly in 2008. Peterson also had four RBIs in the first game of the Utah series on Saturday.
"She's seeing the ball really well right now," said head coach Mike White. "We moved her up to the clean-up spot in the lineup and she came through with a big grand slam in the first inning."
Oregon's first four hitters - Courtney Ceo, Alyssa Gillespie, Janie Takeda and Peterson - combined to go 12-for-17 with nine RBIs and 10 runs scored. Each of them had three hits in the game. Janelle Lindvall added a pair of hits and a RBI while Nikki Udria also had two hits. In all, eight Ducks had at least one hit, six different players scored a run and five players had a RBI.
"We're being patient right now at the plate and getting good pitches to hit," White added. "We're driving the ball up and down the lineup."
Oregon's offense was needed after the Utes put together a big first inning.
Peterson's grand slam in the first gave the Ducks a brief lead but the Utes answered with six runs in bottom of the frame to chase UO starting pitcher Karissa Hovinga.
Oregon brought on Jasmine Smithson-Willett (3-0) in relief and the sophomore held Utah to just one more run on eight hits in 5.1 innings with three stikeouts and a walk.
"Jasmine really pitched well for us and held them in check," White said. "Without her contribution it could have been a really long day."
Cheridan Hawkins closed out the game with a perfect seventh inning.
To overcome the early deficit, Oregon's bats came through in a big way.
The Ducks scored two runs in the top of the second to tie it, 6-6, but Utah struck for another run in the bottom of the second to take a 7-6 lead.
After a scoreless third, Oregon tallied four runs in the fourth, another in the fifth and one more in the seventh to put the Utes away.
In the decisive fourth inning, Ceo hit a one-out bunt single and moved to third when Gillespie reached on one of the Utes' four errors. Takeda followed with a double down the right field line to score Ceo and push Gillespie to third. Peterson drove in one of her six RBIs with an infield single before Lindvall tacked on another RBI single to right center. Kailee Cuico drove in the fourth run of the inning when her single down the left field line scored Peterson.
In the seventh inning, freshman Sammie Puentes made her collegiate debut and reached on an error in her first plate appearance. She later scored on a single by Gillespie.
Oregon will look to sweep the three-game Pac-12 opening series tomorrow at 11 a.m.