BERKELEY, Calif. — Oregon has reclaimed the Pac-12 softball throne.
The second-ranked Ducks won the outright conference championship, the program’s fifth Pac-12 title in six seasons, with a 2-0 victory over No. 24 California in the regular-season finale Saturday at Levine-Fricke Field.
Oregon, which is ranked No. 1 nationally in RPI, improved to 47-7 overall and 21-3 in Pac-12 play after winning its 13th consecutive game.
Mike White’s team will watch the NCAA postseason selection show Sunday (7 p.m., ESPN2) at Jane Sanders Stadium, which will host the Eugene Regional next weekend and a super regional May 25-27, if Oregon advances.
The Ducks will likely be the No. 1 overall seed.
White gave Maggie Balint, coming off a dramatic return to the circle in relief of newly crowned Pac-12 pitcher of the year Megan Kleist, during last Sunday’s sweep of Utah in the regular-season home finale at Jane Sanders Stadium, the start on Saturday.
The sophomore right-hander, who has been limited by lower-back problems and was making only her fifth appearance in Pac-12 play, allowed one hit, one walk and no runs with four strikeouts in three innings.
Miranda Elish (20-1, 1.01 ERA) picked up the win after allowing two hits and a walk with four strikeouts over the final four innings.
Cal starter Kristin Cullen, one of the seniors honored before the game, made one pitch in her last home game before handing the ball over to Kamalani Dung, who struck out the side in the first inning.
Jenna Lilley hit a towering pop fly that Cal shortstop Jazmyn Jackson lost in the sun and allowed to drop for Oregon’s first hit in the third.
Mia Camuso came through with a two-out, two-run single in the fourth to give the Ducks the 2-0 lead.
In the sixth, DJ Sanders was thrown out trying to score, though replays appeared to show the shortstop’s foot sliding over home plate before the tag by Cal catcher Marcella Kay.
Camuso lined out to third base to strand two more Oregon runners in scoring position. Dung (18-5, 2.03 ERA) allowed two earned runs and six hits with seven strikeouts and one walk over seven innings.
Oregon senior catcher Gwen Svekis was the first player to hold the Pac-12 championship trophy before handing it over to White during the postseason celebration.
The Ducks, who finished a half-game behind Arizona for the crown last year, have been consistently dominant in the conference play for six seasons. Now the focus shifts to the team’s main goal: Winning the program’s first national championship at the Women’s College World Series May 31-June 6 in Oklahoma City.
Svekis and Kleist were two of four Ducks named to the all-Pac-12 first team on Saturday along with Elish and Lilley. Second-team honors went to Sanders, Alexis Mack, Lauren Lindvall and Mary Iakopo. Lilley and Lindvall were named to the all-defense team, and Iakopo and Lauren Burke are on the all-freshman team.
Pac-12 coaches selected UCLA's Rachel Garcia player of the year and Arizona State's Trisha Ford coach of the year.