Pac-12 player of the week Rachel Cid has helped lead UO's 9-0 start

A key storyline for the Oregon softball program entering the season was the improved depth in the circle.

The pitching staff has definitely contributed to the Ducks’ 9-0 start, but coach Melyssa Lombardi’s team has also benefited from a power surge at the plate.

No. 17 Oregon blasted nine home runs and scored 40 runs over four games last weekend at the Houston Tournament.

Rachel Cid, the Pac-12 player of the week, led the attack by hitting .467 with two home runs and eight RBIs.

Not bad for a young player who missed the fall schedule due to injury.

“It’s amazing when you’re sidelined, you start watching practice and you start to maybe get a little bit different perspective on things,” Lombardi said after Tuesday’s practice at Jane Sanders Stadium. “Then when when you get the opportunity to come back, not that you took anything for granted, but you treat it a little different. …

“I think for her she’s playing free, she’s seeing the ball really well, she’s on a mission. And it’s pretty cool.”

Cid is hitting .448 with a team-high three home runs and 12 RBIs. She was a Pac-12 all-freshman team selection after hitting .260 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs last season.

The sophomore third baseman has started all 61 games of her Oregon career.

“I had a year of experience along with it,” Cid said of her approach to improving her overall game during the offseason. “A lot of work went into it, even on off days going in and just hitting off the tee. I know a lot of us are coming in, even on off days, to get that extra work in. That helped a lot.”

Seven different players have already hit home runs for the Ducks, including two each off the bats of newcomers Terra McGowan (.452, 13 RBIs), Mya Felder (.450, five RBIs) and Ariel Carlson (.185, nine RBIs).

“I felt coming into the year you were going to see a little more power from us,” Lombardi said. “Maybe didn’t quite see it as much as you’d like to that first weekend, so to see them relax and just get good pitches, swing at pitches in the strike zone and see the ball travel a little bit is exciting.”

Oregon, one of only five remaining unbeaten teams in the country, continues the nonconference schedule at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral, Calif.

The Ducks open the tournament with a doubleheader Thursday against Bethune-Cookman (1-9) at 10 a.m. and Mississippi State (9-1) at 1 p.m.

Lombardi’s fortified staff has posted a collective 1.35 earned-run average in 57 inning pitched with four shutouts.

Transfers Samaria Diaz (4-0, 0.36 ERA) and Brooke Yanez (4-0, 1.81) have both pitched 19 1/3 innings.

Jordan Dail (1-0, 1.91 ERA), the lone scholarship pitcher on the 2019 roster, has pitched 14 2/3 innings with true freshman Makenna Kliethermes (0-0, 1.91 ERA) pitching 3 2/3 innings.

“I think each weekend we look a little different,” Lombardi said of her options with more depth in the circle and throughout the lineup. “And it’s exciting to see how that look is going to be.”

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