Oregon softball one win from NCAA super regional
OREGON 5, Drake 0
• Megan Kleist came within one out of a perfect game as the top-ranked Ducks advanced to Saturday's regional championship game at Jane Sanders Stadium.
Oregon (49-7) will play Drake (45-11) again at 4 p.m. Drake must beat Oregon twice on Saturday to win the regional.
The Ducks, who are 26-0 in the NCAA regional round under coach Mike White, need one win to advance to host a super regional next weekend.
In a Friday loser-out game at the Eugene regional, BYU beat Albany 16-0.
Drake then blanked BYU 3-0 behind a three-hit shutout from freshman pitcher Nicole Simmons.
Saturday's regional championship matchup features two of the top three pitching teams in the nation
based on ERA.
Kleist (21-5) struck out 11, and the only base runners for the Bulldogs came with two out in the top of the seventh inning. It was the 18th complete game of the season for the junior, who threw 57 of her 82 pitches for strikes.
Drake's Macy Johnson hit the first pitch from Kleist up the middle to break up the perfect game bid. Taryn Pena was hit by a pitch before a flyout ended the game.
Oregon's ERA leads the nation, and Drake's Nicole Newman has an ERA under one run per game. Newman's rise ball had the Ducks popping up into the fourth inning. But Oregon knocked out the Bulldogs starter with a pair of home runs in the fifth.
The Ducks scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first. Jenna Lilley hit a leadoff double and scored from second on a pop-up off the bat of Shannon Rhodes. Drake second baseman Kennedy Frank fell as she went to catch what would have been an inning-ending out.
Oregon doubled its lead in the fourth with two-out hits as Haley Cruse singled and scored from first on a double to right-center field by Lilley.
In the bottom of the fifth, freshman Lauren Burke from Eugene hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run for the second day in a row to double the Ducks lead. Mary Iakopo followed with a solo home run.
Wisconsin 9, Oregon State 3 (8 innings)
• The Badgers rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force extra innings, then scored six runs in the top of the eighth to beat the Beavers in the opening game of the NCAA regional at Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Oregon State (28-27) must win three loser-out games in a row to advance to a super regional.
OSU will face Middle Tennessee in a loser-out game at 2 p.m. PT Saturday. If the Beavers win, they will play again at 4:30 p.m.
Alysha Everett knocked in all three Oregon State runs on Friday. She had an RBI triple in the bottom of the first and a two-run home run in the third to give the Beavers the 3-0 lead.
Wisconsin pulled within 3-2 in the fifth inning on Jordan Little's first home run of the season.
Oregon State was one out from victory after starting pitcher Meehra Nelson struck out the first two batters in the top of the seventh.
But the next three Badgers drew walks. Freshman Mariah Mazon replaced Nelson in the circle, and an infield single by leadoff hitter Kelsey Jenkins plated the tying run.
Wisconsin broke open the game against Mazon as four hits and a Beavers error produced six runs.