* A boxscore, play-by-play and various season stats are available in the LINKS box to the right.
TUCSON, Ariz. – Going for its first-ever sweep of No. 9 Arizona, the No. 16 University of Oregon softball team (35-12, 7-8) battled back from a 5-0 deficit Sunday to lose its only game of the series, 7-6, at Hillenbrand Stadium.
After the eight-time national champions (37-13, 8-7) scored three runs in the first inning and twice more in the second, UO battled back with all six of its runs from the fourth inning on.
However, the Ducks left six runners on base the last three innings, and also hit into a double-play in the seventh to fall for the first time in two weeks. Sunday’s outcome also ended the first five-game losing streak for the returning national runners-up since 1991.
UO was hitless the first three innings before senior Monique Fuiava opened Oregon’s scoring in the fourth inning with a three-run homer – her eighth of the year.
With one out, sophomores Kaylan Howard and Samantha Pappas singled and walked, and Fuiava’s shot moved her into sole possession of sixth all-time for Oregon career-wise.
UO put two more runs across in the fifth after freshmen Alexa Peterson and Courtney Ceo walked and singled, and junior Kelsey Chambers walked to load the bases with one out.
Howard knocked in the first run when she hit a ground ball that Ceo lept over in front of the shortstop who bobbled the ball, and all runners advanced safely. Pappas followed with a bases-loaded walk to score the other run of the inning with one out, but a strikeout and foul-out capped the stanza.
In the sixth inning, freshman Kailee Cuico led off with a home run to right field – her sixth of the season – to draw the Ducks within one. Two more runners reached with one out via an error by the second baseman and walk by Ceo, but a ground-out and strikeout ended the threat.
Pappas led off with a single in the seventh, but a ground ball to the shortstop resulted in a double play. After a walk to junior pinch-hitter Christie Nieto , a strikeout ended the contest.
For the game, five Ducks ended with single hits – Ceo, Cuico, Fuiava, Howard and Pappas.
In her 12th complete game of the season, sophomore Jessica Moore (18-7) struck out six, walked four, gave up nine hits, and all seven runs of her runs allowed were earned.
UA starter Shelby Babcock (16-6) struck out six, walked seven, scattered five hits, and all six of her runs allowed were earned.
Scoring-wise for the Wildcats in the opening innings, Stacie Chambers hit a three-run homer in the first, and Lauren Schutzler drove in two more runs in the second on a two-run double. UA added its final two runs in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Kristen Arriola.
For the game, three UA hitters finished with multiple hits – Chambers (3-for-3), Schutzler (2-for-4) and Arriola (2-for-4).
Earlier in the weekend, UO blasted the Wildcats with a season high in homers (5) and hits (16) in its 12-6 second-game win Saturday. In Friday’s 2-0 first-game win, Fuiava and senior Kaitlin Vitek came through with a bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
In the rivalry dating back to 1984, UO staked its third season series against UA after it owned 2-1 and 4-2 advantages in 2009 and 1989, respectively.
In other recent Duck-Wildcat meetings, Oregon had beaten UA, 2-1, in extra inning games in 2010 and ’09, and also claimed single wins in 2005 in Eugene (3-0) and ’04 in Eugene (1-0) when head coach Mike White served as a Duck volunteer coach and assistant coach, respectively.
For the series, Pappas led Oregon in hitting (.500, 5-for-10, 3 BB), and three others topped .300 – Fuiava (.375, 3-for-8, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB), Kelsey Chambers (.364, 4-for-11, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB) and Ceo (.364, 4-for-11, 1 SB). Moore went 1-1 on the weekend, and ended with 11 strikeouts in her two starts and 13 innings, while junior Samantha Skillingstad claimed Saturday’s win, and posted a 2.62 ERA in her 2.2 innings of work.
UO entered the weekend on a three-game roll after it beat Oregon State, 7-1, 7-4 and 8-1, last weekend in Eugene – its first Civil War sweep since 1994 (and fourth since the first series in 1974).
Looking ahead, the Ducks return to Howe Field for the final two weekends of the regular season to face No. 13 Stanford and No. 8 UCLA. UO’s single games each day against the Cardinal start Friday, May 6 at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 7 at 2 p.m., and Sunday May 8 at noon.
The Ducks wrap up the season against with returning national champion Bruins, Thu.-Sat., May 12-14, then tune into the NCAA selection show on Sunday night on ESPN-U on Sunday, May 15 from 7:30-8 p.m. PT on ESPNews.
#9 Arizona 7, #16 OREGON 6 (May 01, 2011 at Tucson, Ariz.)
#16 OREGON.......... 000 321 0 - 6 5 0 (36-14, 7-8 Pac 10)
#9 Arizona.......... 320 200 X - 7 9 2 (36-11, 8-7 Pac 10)
Pitchers: OREGON - Moore, Jessica and Peterson, Alexa . Arizona - Babcock and Chambers. Win-Babcock(16-6) Loss- Moore, Jessica (18-7) T-2:22 A-2273. HR ORE - Fuiava, Monique (8); Cuico, Kailee (6). HR ARIZ - Chambers (17). Weather: 66 degrees, windy
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