* Updated season/career stats are available via the link above.
EUGENE - The No. 12 University of Oregon softball team (39-15, 13-9) locked up third place in the 'Conference of Champions' with it 8-2 win Saturday vs. No. 14 UCLA (36-18, 12-12) in the teams' regular season finale at Howe Field.
The Ducks relied on another strong pitching effort by junior Jessica Moore (27-12), and connected on three homers to take the series from the 11-time national champions for the second straight year and third time in school history.
Sophomore Kailee Cuico cranked the first of those homers with her first-inning grand slam, and moved into a tie for the team home run lead this season (11) and ninth all-time in a campaign for the Ducks. The San Pedro, Calif., native also moved up a spot on the all-time season RBI list to third, and paces the team in 2012 (51).
“I went into the box, tried to stay calm, and not think grand slam because that’s when you pop up,” Cuico said. “We had seen the (Bruin) pitcher the last two days, so I had a decent feel for her. Overall, we tried to approach our at-bats with confidence. We picked each other up at different points of the game, and tried to keep it simple, and play hard.”
Two batters later, senior Christie Nieto commemorated the team's senior day in fitting style with a solo homer – her eighth round-tripper of the season.
In the fifth inning, junior Samantha Pappas socked her eighth home run of 2011, and moved her into a tie for seventh all-time for UO career-wise (27).
In the circle, Moore logged her 14th win over a top 25-ranked team this year. The All-Pac-12 returnee struck out eight, walked three, allowed six hits, and held the nation’s leading slugging team (.599) to two earned runs. Saturday’s stats also pushed her up all-time season charts in starts (second, 38), strikeouts (third, 209) and complete games (seventh, 27).
“I wanted to come out and give the team my best today,” Moore said. “This was a huge series, and would give the winning team momentum going into the postseason. Also, whomever won would have placed third in the Pac-12, and that was important for positioning in the NCAA Tournament. We have tried to be aggressive the last two days, and we didn’t want to let our seniors down today. We knew we can beat anyone, any day, if we just believed in ourselves.”
In Oregon’s five-run first inning, the Ducks set the table for Cuico’s grand slam after freshman Janie Takeda reached on a passed ball after striking out, junior Kaylan Howard walked, and senior Kelsey Chambers laid down a bunt single to the shortstop.
UO added a run in the fourth after Takeda walked with two outs, stole second base, then scored on a single up the middle by Howard.
For the game, Kelsey Chambers and Pappas each went 2-for-3, and four others collected single hits. On the base paths, Pappas and Takeda swiped their 18th and 12th bases of the season – first- and second-most on the squad.
The Bruins scored both of their runs in the first inning after lead-off hitter Katie Schroeder singled to second base on a check-swing slap, and B.B. Bates followed with a two-run homer to left field.
UCLA threatened again in the fifth when it put the runners on second and third with one out, via an error by the shortstop and single to center field. However, Moore answered with a pair of strikeouts to end the threat.
In the sixth, the Bruins loaded the bases after three walks to the first five batters of the inning. Moore got out of the jam unscathed by forcing lead-off hitter Schroeder to pop out to third base with two outs.
In the circle, Jessica Hall (19-12) struck out six, walked two, allowed eight hits, and seven of her eight runs allowed were earned.
At the plate for UCLA, Bates was the lone Bruin with multiple hits, and four others hit safely once.
Oregon’s second-largest crowd of the season also enjoyed a pre-game ceremony that honored the team’s five seniors - infielders Kelsey and Lindsey Chambers, pitcher Samantha Skillingstad and catcher Jordan Reeves.
For the three-game series, Pappas led Oregon in batting (.500, 4-for-8, 1 HR, 3 2B, 1.250 slugging, 4 SB). Two others topped .300 – Kelsey Chambers (3-for-9) and junior Allie Burger (.333, 1H). In the circle, Moore went 2-1 vs. UCLA, and struck out 13 in her 19.2 innings, and hit .250 (2-for-8, 1 2B) in her first plate appearances on the season.
In other action around the league, conference champion and No. 1 California (49-4, 20-3) lost its only game of the series to No. 2 Arizona State (46-6, 18-3) by a 5-0 count in Berkeley. No. 16 Arizona (35-16, 12-11) beat No. 24 Oregon State (33-21, 8-14) in Tucson, 3-1, for its second win in the three-game set. No. 15 Stanford (37-17, 10-13) won 12-9 over Utah (27-27, 2-21) for its second series win in Salt Lake City. No. 18 Washington (36-17, 7-16) had the weekend off.
UO won its fifth league series of the season, after it also topped UCLA Friday, 3-2, while it lost the opener, 10-0. The past two months, Oregon also swept Utah, 3-0, in Salt Lake City, and staked 2-1 series advantages against eight-time national champion and then-No. 11 Arizona in Tucson and at returning Super Regional advancer and then-No. 14 Stanford. Oregon tied returning national champion and then-No. 5 Arizona State and Super Regional returnee and then-No. 7 Washington, 1-1, and dropped its other series to No. 1 California and Oregon State by 2-1 counts.
“After UCLA scored early, It was important that we came right back,” Oregon head coach Mike White said, “we bent but didn’t break. Jess adjusted her strike zone when she needed to and that made a big difference. The offense gave her great support and the defense did their part, too. We made a good case for an NCAA Tournament top-eight seed – we beat a great team twice this weekend. “
Oregon finished the season in third place in the league, and with Moore in the circle, defeated every league opponent in the same season for the fourth time in school history. The Ducks also achieved the feat in 2004 (10-11) and ’99 (10-18) in eight-team league leagues and in ’89 (13-7) in a six-team conference – and the latter campaign was the same season that UO advanced to the World Series.
Looking ahead, collegiate softball fans can watch the NCAA Tournament 64-team selection show Sunday night on ESPN-U at 7 p.m.
#12 Oregon 8, #14 UCLA 2 (May 12, 2012 at Eugene, Ore.)
#14 UCLA 200 000 0 - 2 6 0 (36-18, 12-12 Pac-12)
#12 Oregon 500 120 X - 8 8 2 (39-15, 13-9 Pac-12)
Pitchers: UCLA - Hall and Yudin. Oregon - Moore, Jessica and Peterson, Alexa. Win-Moore, Jessica(27-12) Loss-Hall(19-12) T-1:52 A-611. HR UCLA - Bates. HR ORE - Cuico, Kailee; Pappas, Samantha; Nieto, Christie. Weather: 73, sunny, wind 1-4 mph
BOXSCORE & PLAY-BY-PLAY
#14 UCLA at #12 Oregon
May 12, 2012 at Eugene, Ore. (Howe Field)
UCLA 2 (36-18,12-12 Pac-12)
Oregon 8 (39-15,13-9 Pac-12)
|Takeda, Janie cf||2||2||0||0||1||2||1||0||0|
|Melick, Hannah ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Howard, Kaylan 2b||2||1||1||1||1||0||3||3||0|
|Chambers, Kelsey ss||3||2||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Cuico, Kailee 3b/1b||3||1||1||4||0||0||5||0||0|
|Pappas, Samantha rf||3||1||2||2||0||0||1||0||0|
|Nieto, Christie 1b/dp||3||1||1||1||0||2||0||0||0|
|Peterson, Alexa c||3||0||0||0||0||1||9||0||1|
|Moore, Jessica p||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Chambers, Lindsey dp/3b||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||1||1|
|Burger, Allie lf||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
Score by Innings R H E ----------------------------------------- UCLA................ 200 000 0 - 2 6 0 Oregon.............. 500 120 X - 8 8 2 -----------------------------------------
|E - Takeda, J; Chambers, K. LOB - UCLA 8; Oregon 2. 2B - Pappas, S; Moore, J. HR - Bates; Cuico, K; Pappas, S; Nieto, C. SH - LaRosa. SB - Takeda, J; Pappas, S.|
|Moore, Jessica W,27-12||7.0||6||2||2||3||8||0||0||0||0||27||31||6||7||106|
Win - Moore, J (27-12). Loss - Hall (19-12). Save - None.
PB - Yudin. Pitches/strikes: Hall 72/45; Moore, J 106/70.
Umpires - HP: Rob Hough 1B: Mike Bartling 3B: Geri Magwire
2012 OREGON SOFTBALL
#14 UCLA at #12 Oregon
May 12, 2012 at Eugene, Ore. (Howe Field)
|UCLA starters: 29/cf Schroeder; 11/3b LaRosa; 18/lf Harrison; 19/rf Bates; 7/dp Camuso; 27/ss Fox; 44/c Yudin; 3/1b Carda; 9/2b Snow; 15/p Hall;|
|Oregon starters: 19/cf Takeda, J; 3/2b Howard, K; 8/ss Chambers, K; 33/3b Cuico, K; 0/rf Pappas, S; 17/1b Nieto, C; 14/c Peterson, A; 12/p Moore, J; 5/dp Chambers, L; 2/lf Burger, A;|
|UCLA 1st - Cuico, K to 1b. Nieto, C to dp. Chambers, L to 3b. Schroeder singled to second base (1-1 BK). check-swing slap that runner easily beats throw to 1b. LaRosa out at first 3b to 2b, SAC, bunt (0-1 F); Schroeder advanced to second. Harrison out at first p to 2b to 1b; Schroeder advanced to third. rocket one-hopper that Moore deflects, Howard fields near 2b & beats runner. Bates homered to left field, 2 RBI (1-2 BKF); Schroeder scored. Camuso singled to center field (1-0 B). fisted blooper into shally cf between cf, rf and 2b. Fox grounded out to ss (1-1 BK). 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.|
|Oregon 1st - Takeda, J struck out swinging, reached first on a passed ball (1-2 FBSFS). high swinging strike, ball tips off catchers' glove and skips to backstop. Howard, K walked (3-1 BFBBB); Takeda, J advanced to second. Chambers, K singled, bunt (0-0); Howard, K advanced to second; Takeda, J advanced to third. Cuico, K homered to center field, 4 RBI (0-0); Chambers, K scored; Howard, K scored; Takeda, J scored, unearned. Cuico hits third career grand slam and homer #11 of 2012 to tied team lead. Pappas, S grounded out to 2b. Nieto, C homered to right field, RBI (0-0). Peterson, A struck out swinging (1-2 FKBS). Moore, J doubled to right field. Bates runs full speed to her left, and fully outstretched, ball tips offglv. Chambers, L grounded out to p (1-0 B). 5 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.|
|UCLA 2nd - Yudin flied out to cf (2-1 BFB). highi fly ball, 15' from wall in lcf. Carda struck out swinging (1-2 KBKS). Snow struck out swinging (2-2 KBBFS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.|
|Oregon 2nd - Takeda, J struck out swinging, out at first c to 1b (1-2 SBFS). Howard, K flied out to cf. Chambers, K flied out to lf (0-0). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.|
|UCLA 3rd - Schroeder struck out swinging (0-2 KFS). LaRosa singled to second base (0-2 SS). Howard dives for ball up middle, throws from knees and almost gets out. Harrison struck out looking (1-2 BKFK). Bates grounded out to 1b unassisted (2-0 BB). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.|
|Oregon 3rd - Cuico, K grounded out to ss (2-1 BBF). Pappas, S doubled to center field (0-1 S). cf is late reacting to fly ball, which goes over her head and bouncesoffwal. Pappas, S stole third. Snow races into foul fence trying to catch foul pop, but is ok aft2mindelay. Nieto, C struck out swinging (3-2 BKBFBS). cf backs up and makes catch on edge of warning track. Peterson, A flied out to cf. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.|
|UCLA 4th - Camuso grounded out to 2b. Fox reached on an error by ss (0-2 KF). Yudin singled to center field, advanced to second on an error by cf (1-2 BKS); Fox advanced to third. cf bobbled single, and allowed runners to advance to 2b/3b. Duran pinch ran for Yudin. Carda struck out swinging (0-2 KFFFS). Snow struck out swinging (2-2 KBBKS). 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 errors, 2 LOB.|
|Oregon 4th - Yudin to c for Duran. Moore, J flied out to cf (0-0). Chambers, L struck out looking (3-2 KBBBFK). Takeda, J walked (3-1 FBBBB). Takeda, J stole second. Howard, K singled to center field, out at second cf to 1b to ss, RBI (2-0 BB); Takeda, J scored. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.|
|UCLA 5th - Schroeder struck out swinging (1-2 KFFBS). LaRosa singled to shortstop (0-1 K). high chopper behind circle, that ss tries to make play, but not enough time. Harrison flied out to lf (1-1 BK). Bates fouled out to c (1-0 B). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.|
|Oregon 5th - Chambers, K singled to center field (1-0 B). Cuico, K grounded out to ss (0-0); Chambers, K advanced to second. SS tries to hurry dp attempt, muffs grounder initially, stills gets out@ 1b. Pappas, S homered to right field, 2 RBI (0-2 KF); Chambers, K scored. Pappas launches HR #8 of year over RF wall; HR #27 ties #7 all-time for UO. Nieto, C struck out looking (3-2 SBBSBK). Peterson, A grounded out to 3b (0-2 FKF). 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.|
|UCLA 6th - Camuso walked (3-0 BBBB). Reed pinch ran for Camuso. Fox struck out looking (2-2 KFBBK). Yudin walked (3-2 KSBBBB); Reed advanced to second. Carda reached on a fielder's choice (1-1 KB); Yudin out at second ss to 2b; Reed advanced to third. Snow walked (3-2 SBBBFFFB); Carda advanced to second. Schroeder fouled out to 3b (0-1 K). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 3 LOB.|
|Oregon 6th - Moore, J popped up to 3b (1-0 B). Melick, H pinch hit for Takeda, J. Chambers, L popped up to ss. Melick, H grounded out to 2b (0-0). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.|
|UCLA 7th - Takeda, J to cf for Melick, H. LaRosa popped up to 2b (1-0 B). Harrison popped up to rf (0-1 K). Bates grounded out to 2b (2-1 BFB). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.|