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Oregon Baseball

Ducks Stay Hot Behind Great Pitching and Solid Offense

February 22, 2021
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The Ducks went south once again over the weekend to Fresno (Calif.) to take on the favorites to win the Mountain West Conference. 

The Ducks were unbeaten this season, and Fresno State's Bulldogs hadn't lost a game at Margie Wright Diamond since 2019. Something had to give.

With the cancelation of two games against Cal Poly, coach Melyssa Lombardi had to keep her team focused on taking down a hungry Bulldog squad. 

Could the Ducks be the first team to take out the Bulldogs on their home turf? Or would they suffer the same fate as most do in the Mountain West?

February 20: 10-2 win

Junior Brooke Yanez led the charge in her third appearance of the season, picking up exactly where she left off against Grand Canyon University. 

The stud lefty racked up a whopping 12 strikeouts, keeping the Bulldogs on a tight leash all game long. 

Through those three appearances and 18 innings, Yanez has logged a total of 30 strikeouts. Yes, you read that right; it’s not a typo. 

The Saturday tilt resulted in Yanez's first complete game of the season. As of now, she seems to be the No.1 option in the rotation, with Jordan Dail right behind her. 

At 3-0, It's been a true lights-out start to Yanez's 2021 campaign. If she maintains that pace through the Pac-12 schedule, you’ll see her name in the Oregon history books quickly.  

With Yanez's dominance, the offense didn’t have to do much. Yet it did show up -- and in a massive way.

The Bulldogs put up their two and only runs in the first inning. It was all Ducks from there on out. 

With 15 hits, it seemed that there was always someone on base for the Ducks. And all nine players in the batting lineup contributed at least one hit. 

Freshman Alyssa Brito has large shoes to fill this season at shortstop with Jasmine Sievers taking the year off. The freshman came out hot against Fresno State, ending a double shy of the cycle and launching her first home run of the season. 

Ariel Carlson, another freshman, looked like she could be an instrumental part of the Oregon offense moving forward. Her 3-for-4 day included a double and RBI. 

February 21: 2-1 Win 

Raegan Breedlove got her second opportunity -- and first start --  for the Ducks in Sunday's game, and it was a good one. The freshman displayed no jitters and looks the part of a four-year starter. 

Unlike Yanez, the freshman is still looking to develop the swing-and-miss stuff an ace on the staff should have. Good thing Breedlove can learn from Oregon's many veterans in the circle. 

Breedlove held the Bulldogs scoreless through two full innings. And she kept her team at least even after the Bulldogs scored their lone run in the third. 

Samaria Diaz came out of the bullpen in relief of the freshman, making good on her second save opportunity. With her power arm, the senior showed an ability to throw hitters off-balance. 

Meanwhile, Oregon batters managed just three hits off of Fresno State ace Hailey Dolcini. But they made those hits count, as

Terra McGowen and Brito both hit their second home runs of the season.

The Ducks now sit at 7-0. 

What’s ahead? 

Feb. 28th and March 1 bring the first Pac-12 teams, with three games in Tempe (Ariz).

It’ll be the first real challenge for the Ducks, with two games against the top-ranked and defending national champion UCLA Bruins.

The squad from Westwood is loaded with talent and a knack for scoring runs. Additionally, Oregon will play a second Sunday game, against Utah.

The key for this young Duck team when facing the Bruins is to put pressure on the defense from the first pitch. 

After a full week off, I could see Yanez and Dail being the starters. Diaz would be looking to anchor the pitching staff if something were to go wrong.

Tags: Baseball, Oregon
 
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