* A boxscore, play-by-play and season stats are located in the links box to the right.
EUGENE - The No. 11 University of Oregon softball team (38-13, 10-9) ended a 15-game series losing streak to returning national champion and No. 12 UCLA (32-16, 8-11) Thursday night with its emotional 6-5 win at Howe Field.
Opening its final series of the regular season, the Ducks scored their first win over the 11-time national champions since 2005 – the only season UO took the series with its three-game sweep. Since then, the Bruins have won three-game sets in 2006, ’07, ’08, ’09 and ’10.
Sophomore Kaylan Howard fueled the Oregon offense with her second career grand slam – a second-inning shot that stayed just fair inside the left field foul pole and put UO up, 6-0.
The Riverside, Calif. native also came up with the day's niftiest defensive play. In the top of the third inning, speedy lead-off hitter GiOnna DiSalvatore hit a hard grounder just to the right of the lunging first baseman Monique Fuiava, that Howard still came up with behind first base.
Howard quickly squared herself and fired to Fuiava who had charged back to first base and narrowly beat the runner to the bag.
The Bruins answered with one run in the third inning and four more in the fourth to draw within, 6-5.
However, sophomore Jessica Moore (21-8) held another of the nation's top offenses scoreless the rest of the way en route to her 15th complete game of the season.
In one of the most emotional efforts of her career, she finished with 10 strikeouts - a career high for a seven-inning, league contest. The Sutter, Calif., native also walked four batters and allowed eight hits in her eighth conference victory of the season.
Thursday's stats moved her up the school season strikeouts list to fourth all-time (184) past Amy Harris (180, 2003) - a former pupil of head coach Mike White
who served as a then-assistant coach.
At the plate for UO, freshman Courtney Ceo singled to open the game, and set the tone for the offense-driven contest.
The Ducks ultimately struck for two runs in the first, benefited by a pair of errors by the Bruin third baseman on a sacrifice bunt by junior Kelsey Chambers
and grounder by senior Kaitlin Vitek
UCLA answered with its first run in the third inning on a RBI single by Andrea Harrison that followed a walk and infield single. The damage could have been worse before the latter player was called out on the same play diving into third base via a 4-5-9-5-4 out, and initiated by a throwing error on the third baseman to second base.
Down 6-1 in the fourth, momentum switched dramatically after the Bruins’ fifth hitter in the line-up, Dani Yudin, was hit by an 0-1 pitch near the base of her helmet behind her head.
After contact, she immediately laid down on the ground and was attended to by various staff and coaches. Over the course of the next 25 minutes, she remained still yet conscious as emergency personnel arrived, eventually placed her on a stretcher, and took her to Sacred Heart Hospital via an ambulance for precautionary reasons (before she was later released Thursday evening).
After the delay, Moore retired two of the next three hitters via a ground-out and strikeout. However, an RBI single and walk were followed by a three-run homer by B.B. Bates over the left field wall. Moore re-steadied herself and got the next batter to ground out and end the inning.
UCLA continued to challenge with singles in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, and added a walk in the fifth. However, Moore refused to bend and struck out three batters in the fifth, and another in both the sixth and seventh.
Thursday's outcome meant Moore had beat her sixth league foe this season - the most by a Duck hurler since Ani Nyhus won 10 league tilts and beat all seven foes in 2003 under White's guidance.
Bruin starter Donna Kerr (12-8) struck out eight, walked none, allowed nine hits, and five of her six runs allowed were earned.
For Oregon, Howard and the freshman pair of Ceo and Alexa Peterson all ended with a pair of hits, and three others added single hits (Chambers, sophomore Allie Burger and freshman Kailee Cuico ).
At the plate for UCLA, two players had multiple hits – Bates (2-for-4, 3 RB) and Harrison (2-for-4, 1 RBI).
The Bruins ultimately stranded eight runners, including two in the second inning when the first two hitters reached safely. Moore answered that challenge by using 11 pitches to strike out the bottom three hitters in the lineup.
Friday's win tied Oregon's most Pac-10 wins (10) since White's former stint in '03 and '04. UO also won 10 times in 28-game slates in 1998 and '99, while its only better totals came in 1994 (12) and '89 (13) in 24- and 20-game schedules, respectively.
Looking ahead, the two teams meet again for single games that start Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Promotions-wise, Friday's contest is 'Take a Kid to the Game' day. Kids will receive $1 admission if they wear their Kidsports jersey or t-shirt. Local Bi-Mart stores also have vouchers for $2 admission.
Prior to Saturday's game, the Howe Field faithful will honor UO's senior class that has helped lead the team to its first-ever Super Regional bid and two Regional trips during their careers.
As part of the 'Senior Night' promotion, senior citizens receive admission Saturday for only $1. Vouchers will also be available at the Howe Field ticket window for $5 off reserved baseball tickets for the 2 p.m. game that day.
#11 OREGON 6, #12 UCLA 5 (May 12, 2011 at Eugene, Ore.)
#12 UCLA........ 001 400 0 - 5 8 2 (32-16, 8-11 Pac-10)
#11 OREGON...... 240 000 0 - 6 9 1 (38-13, 10-9 Pac-10)
Pitchers: UCLA - Kerr and Tiumalu. OREGON - Moore, Jessica and Peterson, Alexa . Win-Moore, Jessica (21-8) Loss-Kerr(12-8) T-2:21 A-428 HR UCLA - Bates. HR ORE - Howard, Kaylan (4). Weather: 64, sunny, wind 0-3 mph.
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