SB: Oregon drops home opener 3-0 after being one-hit by Oklahoma State

Ryan Kostecka

After facing three nationally-ranked teams in its past five games, No. 24 Oregon (11-8) got no break when No. 19 Oklahoma State (18-5) came to Eugene for a three-game series.

Their offensive struggles continued as the Ducks were limited to one-hit, falling 3-0 in the home opener to the Cowgirls.

Despite being limited to three runs in its past four games (two shutouts), Oregon could never get the big hit to open up the innings, often hitting it well but right at Oklahoma State.

“Sometimes you hit balls hard and hit them right at people and they don’t fall through,” Oregon head coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “I just feel like we had opportunities a couple times and we hit balls right at people — we’ve just got to keep swinging. I liked the way they swung, I really did.”

The Ducks had opportunities to score, getting the leadoff batter on in every inning after the first — but couldn’t push the runner across the plate.

“We hit balls hard, just directly at other people and I believe (Saturday) they will fall,” Cherish Burks said. "I’m very confident in our approach and our at-bats. It will come together.”

Lombardi decided to mix things up, taking typical leadoff hitter Haley Cruse and placing her in the five-hole to give more punch to the latter-part of lineup, inserting Burks at the leadoff spot.

The players combined to go 0-for-5 with Cruse getting on base via a walk.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Oregon had a scoring opportunity in the fourth inning. Allee Bunker worked a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a Shaye Bowden single. A sacrifice fly by Cruse advanced Bunker to third but was left stranded there when Rachel Cid’s fly ball was caught near the fence.

The Cowgirls added two more runs in the sixth, but the Ducks rallied in the seventh to bring the tying run to the plate on multiple occasions.

Cruse and Cid started the inning with walks, but the rally ended there when two fly outs and a strikeout ended the game.

Jordan Dail suffered her fourth consecutive loss after starting the season 9-0, but she gave her team a chance to win in the end. She threw a complete game, giving up three runs on four hits with eight strikeouts.

“Jordan gave us the chance to win. I think she still needs to work on managing her counts, but she put us in a position to win,” Lombardi said. “She threw well. She moves the ball well and did a good job of changing her speeds. I thought she did a good job executing her plan.”

Oregon finishes the series against Oklahoma State with a double-header on Saturday at Jane Sanders Stadium — first pitch is set for 12 p.m. and the second game to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

“Trust me, (Saturday’s doubleheader) will be a different story,” Burks said.