The Ducks’ softball doubleheader Tuesday included a 20-minute delay for the lights in the ballpark to turn on, 194 pitches by Jordan Dail, two different position players and a walk-on pitching in relief and a game-winning inside-the-park home run by Haley Cruse.
Oregon’s bizarre 5-3, 9-8 sweep of Portland State at Jane Sanders Stadium keeps the rebuilding program’s NCAA Tournament hopes alive entering this weekend's Civil War series with Oregon State.
“Love their fight, love their energy, love their commitment to this team, love their never-say-die (attitude),” coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “Love that even though we were down (8-2) we knew that we could come back and win a ballgame. We just needed to chip away. We talked about chipping away throughout the whole game.
The Ducks (21-22) rallied with a two-run home run by Cherish Burks and Cruse’s unconventional three-run home run to cap the six-run fifth inning and the dramatic comeback.
“Whenever I hit a ball that looks like it’s going out I always sprint it out because it somehow always finds a way to hit the wall. So I was just booking it,” Cruse said of her second home run of the season. “Coach Lombardi and I kind of made eye contact when I was getting to third. We were like, ‘We we going to do it, are we going to do it?’ She was like, ‘OK, we’re going to do it.’
“So we just sent it and it worked out.”
Dail, who held California scoreless over 20 2/3 innings during back-to-back complete-game shutouts to earn Pac-12 pitcher of the week honors, was pulled in the second inning of the second game.
Third baseman Rachel Cid allowed five hits and three runs before giving way to Cruse, the starting center fielder, who gave up three hits and a run.
Kailey Krueger (1-5), the only full-time pitcher on the roster besides Dail, delivered a 1-2-3 fifth and picked up her first career victory.
Dail (17-10), who threw 132 pitches and allowed three runs and 10 hits over seven innings in the opener, re-entered the second game and kept Portland State scoreless over the final two innings.
“She gave us 100 percent of what she had,” Shaye Bowden, who hit a three-run home run in the first game and a solo shot in the second game, said of Dail. “We had to pick her up and adjust to the fact that she wasn’t on today. We adjusted hitting and made sure we compensated for that.”
Oregon extended its winning streak over the Vikings (16-26) to 17 games dating back to 2010.