For Mike White, green meant oh, no!
Oregon’s coach regretted giving Mia Camuso a green light rounding third base when the “Moose” was tagged out before crossing home plate.
“I thought I had run us out of an inning there,” White said. “That was bad on me on that one. The team was able to pick me up, and that’s what you’ve got to do sometimes. We’re not perfect and we all make mistakes.”
Jenna Lilley bailed White out with a clutch two-out, two-run single to tie the score 2-2, and Gwen Svekis’ two-run bloop single gave the second-ranked Ducks the lead en route to a thrilling 5-2 Pac-12 softball victory over Utah on Saturday night at Jane Sanders Stadium.
The crowd of 2,522, which collectively groaned after Camuso’s out, was roaring during the four-run, six-hit rally that followed in the bottom of the fifth inning.
"That’s why it’s awesome playing at the Jane," White said. "The place is packed, and I think we were able to use all that energy and create some energy for us at the plate."
The program’s other two seniors, Lauren Lindvall (singled, scored) and DJ Sanders (reached on an error), also contributed to the comeback after Utah’s Miranda Viramontes took a no-hitter and a two-run cushion into the inning.
“My teammates always have my back. Jenna and Gwen and Lauren and DJ always step up in those big situations,” Oregon starter Miranda Elish said. “Definitely you could tell they’re the seniors on our team and they really carry our team when we’re going through some tough times like that.”
Lilley, who has returned to the all-American form of her freshman season during the twilight of her collegiate career, calmly poked a low pitch into right field to score Haley Cruse and Lindvall.
“Jenna, what a great job getting that ball right off the shoe top and driving it to the right side,” White said. “She showed her spirit and came up with a big hit for the team. That was huge. That changed the whole momentum right there.”
Svekis' towering pop fly to shallow center field dropped in between the blurry red uniforms giving chase to score Alexis Mack and Lilley.
Mack tacked on an RBI single in the sixth, but Viramontes struck out Sanders with the bases loaded to keep the Utes within three runs entering their final at-bat.
Elish (18-1) finished off the complete game, allowing seven hits but only two earned runs with nine strikeouts and no walks over seven innings.
“I think they call that a barn-burner,” White said of his team’s ninth consecutive win. “We were having trouble hitting the ball, and then all of a sudden we caught fire and we answered after they scored the two runs. …
“We fought back well. I thought we made a lot out of nothing.”
Abbey Robertson hit a two-run double to give Utah, which was drubbed 8-0 in the series opener Friday night, a 2-0 lead in the fifth before Oregon’s rally in the bottom half of the inning.
Viramontes (5-12) gave up eight hits and five runs over her final two innings, and the Utes (20-27, 2-18) lost their ninth consecutive game.
“Utah, obviously they were upset about last night, getting beat eight-nothing,” White said. “They came out and swung the bats really well. I thought they did a good job.”
The Ducks (43-7, 17-3) kept pace with No. 1 UCLA atop the Pac-12 standings after the Bruins (47-3, 17-3) beat California 2-1 earlier in the evening.
Oregon will try to sweep Utah on Sunday in their final regular season home game at Jane Sanders Stadium (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
“Gwen, Lauren and Jenna, I got really close to them last year, and DJ, to,o this year,” Elish said of the seniors' final home game. “It’s going to be really sad. We’re just going to come out there and play a good ballgame for our seniors and carry it over into next weekend.”