Oregon softball’s season ends with 4-1 loss to FSU in WCWS

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

Red eyes, choked-back words with disappointed faces and tears.

It wasn’t the way No. 1 Oregon softball wanted to see the season end. It wasn’t the way the seniors wanted to end their career as Ducks.

Oregon was eliminated from the Women’s College World Series Saturday, falling 4-1 to the No. 6 Florida State Seminoles in Oklahoma City at Hall of Fame Stadium, ending its season.

“It hurts right now, but I’m very proud of my career and my four years and I’m very proud to be a Duck,” Oregon senior Gwen Svekis said through held-back tears at the post-game press conference. “If we came out and played the way I know we can, we wouldn’t be going home tonight. That really hurts.” 

“Unfortunately, this week we weren’t at our best, and I’m getting tired of making that speech,” Oregon head coach Mike White told the media. “We are working hard to find that secret, to find what it takes to bust through that door because we certainly have the ability to be better than what we are doing right now. And that’s what hurts.”

Once again, the Ducks’ poor defense got the best of them. Mixing in passive batting, Oregon quickly became disorganized, falling apart on the infield.

With every slow play and every ball thrown too high or too wide, the Seminoles (54-12) took advantage on the plate.

FSU made its move in the top of the third with an RBI-double to get on the board, 1-0. Cali Harrod, the scored runner, found the first hole within Oregon’s pitching and earned the first walk of the game. Soon after, she successfully stole second base and with Elizabeth Mason’s RBI hit, Harrod ran home and scored from second.

Harrod scored again for FSU two innings later in the fifth. After making her way from first to third during an Oregon error, she crossed home plate once more from Mason and her RBI-single.

The closest Oregon got to the Seminoles was a two-run difference, scoring its lone run in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out RBI-double from Haley Cruse that scored Shannon Rhodes from first base.

But with four errors and two pitching changes, the Ducks fell to the aggression of FSU. Even bringing in young pinch hitters and runners like Cherish Burks and April Utecht, Oregon could not find a spark.

“We tried to do everything,” White told the media. “… I admit it, I had hope until that last swing.”

In the circle, Oregon started with Miranda Elish before briefly switching to Megan Keist and ending with Maggie Balint for the final two innings. Elish (25-2), earned the loss marking her only second loss of the whole season.

“It hurts a lot,” senior Jenna Lilley said at the post-game press conference. “I’m proud of me, myself and my teammates. Committing to Oregon was the best decision of my life and I will always be a Duck no matter what happened today.”

Oregon ended the season with a 53-10 overall record, its fifth Pac-12 title in the last six years and its sixth WCWS appearance in program history.

“We certainly had a lot of fun together, and I hope that’s what they remember,” White told the media. “I tell them a funeral is a celebration of life. They got to be proud of what we accomplished.”

Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni

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