Walk-Off Homer Gives Ducks Opener

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EUGENE — Terra McGowan’s two-run home run in the seventh inning Friday gave No. 12 Oregon a 2-1, walk-off victory over No. 7 Arizona at Jane Sanders Stadium.

The Ducks (32-13, 10-9 Pac-12) didn’t have a baserunner through six innings. But senior Haley Cruse led off the seventh with a single, and McGowan launched a one-out home run over the netting several dozen feet above the wall in left field to give Oregon the win.

“From the minute our team stepped on the field, I could feel them today,” UO coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “It was taking a little longer than what we wanted on offense. But it was worth the wait.”

Brooke Yanez allowed two hits over seven innings, one of them a solo home run — which seemed, when the seventh inning began, that it was all the Wildcats would need. But McGowan’s homer made a winner of Yanez, and gave the Ducks their fourth victory of the season over a top-10 team.

“The whole year, we’ve really been talking about taking energy from defense to offense,” McGowan said. “Brooke have us that energy the entire game.”

How It Happened: Yanez (17-5) struck out the side on 12 pitches in the first, and pitched around a walk in the second. She allowed a one-out single in the fourth, but her catcher McGowan picked off the runner.

No. 9 hitter Hannah Martinez broke up the shutout in the sixth when she hit a one-out home run to center field. After a mound visit by Lombardi, Yanez retired the next five Wildcats in order to set the stage for Oregon’s rally in the seventh.

“I just told her to keep fighting, and that we’re going to get runs for her,” Lombardi said. “Even when I went to the mound (after the home run), she had a look in her eye.”

Allee Bunker sent a ball to the left-field fence in the bottom of the first, but it was caught at the wall. The Ducks’ bats then went quiet until the seventh, when they produced all the offense they’d need for the win.

Cruse went ahead in the count 3-0 to lead off the inning, took two strikes and then dumped a single into short right field. Bunker laid down a bunt that moved Cruse to second, and McGowan fouled off a pitch down 0-2 before launching her walk-off homer.

“I finally got that inside pitch,” she said. “And I just turned on it. I was sitting in, but I was really hacking at anything close in that at-bat.”

Notable: Oregon won when trailing after six innings for the first time since a May 27, 2018 Super Regional win over Kentucky … The Ducks improved to 6-0 on the season in one-run games … The Ducks won on a walk-off for the third time this season while McGowan delivered her first career walk-off hit … She extended her hitting streak to seven games by finishing 1-for-3 … Yanez delivered her 10th complete-game win of the season.

On Deck: The Ducks and Wildcats will play at doubleheader Saturday on Pac-12 Networks beginning at 2 p.m.


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