The calvary has arrived.
Oregon softball coach Melyssa Lombardi, whose first season was marred by defections and transfers during the transition from the Mike White era, will field a more complete team in 2020.
The Ducks open their fall schedule with a 10-inning scrimmage against College of Siskiyous at 10 a.m. Sunday at Jane Sanders Stadium.
After riding the left arm of Jordan Dail for 332 1/3 innings during last year’s last-place finish in the Pac-12, Lombardi will spread the work in the circle between four pitchers.
Senior transfer Samaria Diaz, junior transfer Brooke Yanez and freshman Makenna Kliethermes will help take some of the pressure off Dail.
“If you look at all four, they’re very different in the way they play,” Lombardi said of the staff. “As our sport has grown, our conference has gotten tougher, having one or two (pitchers) is not enough.”
Oregon returns a strong nucleus of players, led by outfielder Haley Cruse, utility player Shaye Bowden, third baseman Rachel Cid, shortstop Jasmine Sievers and second baseman Allee Bunker.
“It was a learning experience, the whole year, and a lot of people stepped up into leadership roles,” said Cruse, the only starter from the 2018 Women’s College World Series team that returned to play for Lombardi last season. “That’s helped us this year.”
Catcher Terra McGowan will join the lineup after sitting out last season following a transfer from Arizona State. Marist High star Ariel Carlson headlines the recruiting class.
“Very refreshing,” Lombardi said of being able to replenish the depth in the program. “I’ve said it many times, but I’m really excited about this team, really excited about our roster and how deep our roster is.”
Oregon softball fall schedule
Sunday, Oct. 6 – 10 a.m. vs. College of the Siskiyous*
Saturday, Oct. 12 – 10 a.m. vs. Idaho State (in Boise, Idaho)
Saturday, Oct. 12 – 12 p.m. at Boise State (in Boise, Idaho)
Thursday, Oct. 17 – 6:00 p.m. vs. Western Oregon*
Sunday, Oct. 20 – 12:30 p.m. vs. Chico State*
Sunday, Oct. 20 – 3 p.m. vs. Southern Oregon*
Sunday, Oct. 27 – 12:30 p.m. vs. Oregon Institute of Technology*
Sunday, Oct. 27 – 3 p.m. vs. Portland State*
* At Jane Sanders Stadium