EUGENE — No. 3-seed Oregon scored nine runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on Friday and run-ruled UI-Chicago 13-0 to open play in the NCAA Eugene Softball Regional.
The Ducks (48-6) tallied 13 runs on 12 hits with no errors while the Flames had two hits and four errors.
Oregon scored in every inning, leading 4-0 before the floodgates opened up in the fourth.
Gwen Svekis started the big fourth inning with an RBI single. Nikki Udria followed with a RBI single of her own to make it 6-0. Pinch runner Haley Cruse then scored on a throwing error by the catcher and another run came in on an RBI grounder by Mia Camuso. Oregon led 8-0 with one out when Madi Bishop laced a single to right to drive in another run. A fielder’s choice put runners at the corners with two outs. Jenna Lilley, who started the inning with a walk, singled in a run to make it 10-0, and a few batters later Miranda Elish came on to pinch hit with the bases loaded and a throwing error allowed all three baserunners to score to make it 13-0.
Freshman Maggie Balint (20-3) tossed a two-hit shutout in her first collegiate postseason start. The right-hander issued two walks and struck out nine batters in the five-inning win.
UIC starter Elaine Heflin took the loss despite facing just two batters. After giving up back-to-back bunt singles in the first inning, Heflin landed awkwardly following a pitch and was taken out of the game.