OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Polishing off its first World Series win in 23 years, the #11 seed University of Oregon softball team (45-17) staked a 3-1 victory over #5 seed Tennessee (52-14) Saturday afternoon.
The Ducks evened their 2012 WCWS record to 1-1 behind the pitching of All-America junior Jessica Moore (34-14) who also tied the school record for wins in a career (73).
The Sutter, Calif., native notched her 33 complete game of the campaign, struck out four (including the last two batters of the game), walked one, allowed four hits, and one earned run.
Oregon got on the board in the first inning when junior right fielder Samantha Pappas hit the second pitch of the game just over the 220-foot center field fence. Her solo homer stood as her 10th round-tripper of the season – one shy of her career high as a freshman – and moved her into a tie for 14th all-time for the Ducks in a campaign.
Junior second baseman Kaylan Howard followed with a double to left center field, then scored on an RBI single by sophomore first baseman Kailee Cuico.
Howard’s double was her 16th of the year and moved her into a tie for second all-time for UO in a season and two shy of Missy Coe’s record (18, 1999). The Riverside, Calif., native also now has 30 extra-base hits this year - tied for second-most ever and one behind the school record (Katie Mackey, 31, 1999).
Cuico’s 54th RBI of 2012 still leaves her in third place in a season in the Duck history books, and seven shy of the second-best mark (Ann Marie Topp, 71, 2006).
Oregon’s third run came in the fourth inning after senior DP Christie Nieto led off with a hit by pitch, then came around to score on an RBI double by Alexa Peterson on a nine-pitch at-bat.
Cuico added another single in the fifth to cap a 2-for-3 day, and was one of four Ducks that hit safely with Pappas, Howard and Peterson.
The Ducks' defense played a key part in the win as UO turned a pair of double plays in the fourth and sixth innings after the lead runners reached both innings.
Tennessee also threatened in the first inning when it put put runners on second and third base via a single, walk and pair of stolen bases. Moore, however, got the Vols' #5 hitter - Melissa Davin - to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
In the circle for UT, All-America First Team pick and sophomore Ellen Renfroe (27-5) pitched the first two innings, struck out one, walked one, allowed three hits, and both runs allowed were earned. Her junior sister Ivy Renfroe worked the last five innings, struck out three, walked none, gave up three hits and one earned run.
Four Volunteers hit safely once – Kat Dotson, Melissa Davin, Ashley Andrews and Tory Lewis.
Series-wise vs. Tennessee, UO won its second game ever among their four meetings, and first since a 4-2 victory in 1998. UO had dropped the prior meetings 1-0 in ’06 and 5-0 in ’08 to the four-time WCWS advancers.
In earlier action Saturday afternoon, LSU beat South Florida, 1-0.
Looking ahead, Oregon will play #1 seed California (57-6) at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time after it went 1-2 vs. the Bears in Eugene in April. Immediately before at 4 p.m., #3 seed Arizona State will face LSU.
Both games will be televised by ESPN-2 and ESPN3.com, and the Duck-Bear tilt will be broadcast on the radio in Eugene by KSCR-1320 AM.