The popular first baseman is the ninth player to leave the program since coach Melyssa Lombardi replaced Mike White
Even “Moose” is on the loose from the reeling Oregon softball program.
Mia Camuso, after a meeting with first-year coach Melyssa Lombardi on Thursday, became the ninth player to leave the Ducks since Mike White went to Texas and the third since practices began last week.
The team's starting first baseman, affectionately serenaded by her nickname "Moose" during games at Jane Sanders Stadium the past two seasons, will enter the NCAA transfer portal.
“Unfortunately, due to events that have occurred throughout the past few months, I will not be continuing my collegiate career at Oregon, and will be playing my final two seasons somewhere else,” Camuso posted Friday on social media. “I no longer feel that I can be the best, happiest version of myself with the current environment.
“This was not an easy decision for my family and me, but after much thought and consideration I feel it is the best one.”
Before the Ducks' first practice Jan. 15, Camuso was looking forward to the looming 2019 season.
"Oh, I'm really excited for this spring," Camuso said. "I'm an upperclassman now, so I'm going into more of a leadership role for the team."
Camuso, a junior from Redding, Calif., was second on the team with 12 doubles and drove in 24 runs last season with 57 starts in 60 games played. As a freshman in 2017, she hit a two-run game-winning single in the seventh inning to clinch the NCAA Super Regional over Kentucky and the Ducks’ berth in the Women’s College World Series.
Projected ace Maggie Balint announced her decision to seek a transfer “with a heavy heart” on Tuesday. Senior outfielder Alexis Mack describing her decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal Wednesday as “anguishing.”
“I have incredible love and respect for my teammates, and wish them and the Oregon softball program nothing but success this season and in the future,” Mack posted on social media. “However, I feel that due to the current circumstances and culture going into this upcoming season, it is no longer a place nor a good fit for me.
“I want to assure that I make my last season I will ever play full of love, smiles, and the best yet.”
Four ex-Ducks — Miranda Elish, Lauren Burke, Shannon Rhodes and Mary Iakopo — used the NCAA transfer portal to reunite with White at Texas.
Pac-12 pitcher of the year Megan Kleist, a co-ace with Elish in 2018, is still taking classes at Oregon with plans to play at Louisiana at Lafayette in 2020. Freshman Alyssa Pinto is completing her transfer to Mississippi.
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Oregon won the Pac-12 championship and was the No. 1 seed at the Women's College World Series last season. Now Lombardi is left with only 14 players on the roster, including seven freshmen and three sophomores.
“She’s a very strong lady,” Camuso said when asked about Lombardi’s coaching style. “She is very communicative and really wants us to do well in school and wants us to work hard in practice every day.”
Outfielder Haley Cruse is the lone returning starter from the No. 1-seeded Ducks’ lineup at the Women’s College World Series last June.
“It was definitely hard to see a lot of our teammates leave, but at the same time everyone wanted to stay here who is here right now,” Cruse said of the initial attrition before Balint, Mack and Camuso added to the roster carnage. “Even though it is difficult losing a lot of teammates, we needed to make sure we rallied together and kept moving forward.”
Oregon opens the season Feb. 8 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.