Ducks tar Heels, advance to Regional Final
EUGENE - The No. 3 University of Oregon softball team (48-19) advanced to its fourth straight NCAA Regional Final with a 3-0 win over North Carolina (40-9) Friday afternoon at Howe Field.
En route to a school-record 100th career victory, senior Jessica Moore (26-4) struck out nine, walked one, and scattered five hits.
The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year posted her fourth shutout of the season and 19th career-wise - fourth-most all-time for the Ducks - and two shy of the third-best total of Susan Voeller (21).
"Coach White said that we have to go out and play every game like it's going to be our last," Moore said, "so I did. At any time in the postseason, it could turn really quickly. We need to go out and be aggressive against whomever we play, and be fired up and ready to win."
Moore raised her four-year record in regional action to 10-0, and also improved her school career records for strikeouts (902), innings (888) and appearances (172).
The Ducks scored their opening run in the first inning after sophomore center fielder Janie Takeda led off with a single to shortstop, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, stole third base, and scored on a bad throw by the catcher.
UO's final two runs came in the third inning after Takeda, junior shortstop Courtney Ceo, junior DP Alexa Peterson and senior right fielder Samantha Pappas stroked singles.
Overall for the game, Takeda (2-for-4, 2 SB) and Ceo (2-for-2, RBI) posted their team-leading 29th and 20th multi-hit games of the season.
The All-Pac-12 and All-Region choice Takeda now has 86 hits on the season - one shy of the school record by Lisa Wangler from 2001 (87).
"The team has a lot of confidence in each right now," Takeda said. "We are really pulling for each other, and picking each other up on offense, defense and on the basepaths. We're excited to win today and look forward to tomorrow."
In the circle for UNC, All-ACC pitcher Lori Spingola (30-14) struck out seven, walked one, yielded six hits, and two of her three runs allowed were earned.
Offensively for the Tar Heels, five players hit safely once.
Two of those hits came in the second inning, along with a one-out walk that loaded the bases. Moore answered with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Kati Causey and infield pop-out to end the inning.
"Jess has been our number one for four years," Oregon head coach Mike White said,"so we were excited to see her get another key win, especially at home in front of a great crowd."
"North Carolina is a quality opponent with a good pitcher who is difficult to score runs off. Fortunately enough, we were able to lead the game off with our short game."
Looking ahead, Wisconsin and BYU will play at 2 p.m., and the winner of that game will face UNC at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, UO next plays at noon in the NCAA Regional final, and a second if-necessary game would follow at 3 p.m. in the double-elimination format.