Oregon Softball: Ducks Finish Shortened Season Ranked 9th In Coaches Poll

Jane Sanders Stadium, Home of Oregon Softball.Justin Phillips/KPNW Sports
Jane Sanders Stadium, Home of Oregon Softball.Justin Phillips/KPNW Sports /

Oregon Softball started the season ranked 24th and over a month worked their way toward the top ten and a 22-2 record in a shortened season finishing in the top ten.

The Ducks never got to Pac-12 play this season and played just four games at Jane Sanders Stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team won 16 straight games to start the season and did so with power on offense with multiple contributors. The finished the season with four straight wins in the Oregon Classic including to games against Seattle.

They posted seven shutouts and always scored at least two runs against all opponents. Oregon looked the part of a team before Melyssa Lombardi’s arrival jumping out to fast starts in most of their wins outscoring opponents 73-3 in the first two innings.

More from Autzen Zoo

Hayley Cruse returned for her Senior Season and led the team In hitting . Her .457 average was eye-opening as she became one of the most reliable players on the team at the plate, and with her celebrations for her teammates. Cruse had 30 runs along with 37 hits and was one of a handful of starters that was perfect in the field on defense as well.

One area that saw the biggest improvement was pitching. Last season Jordan Dial did her best and was by herself for most of the season in the circle. Lombardi brought in help this season and it showed up early and often.

Brooke Yanez and Samaria Diaz joined Dial in the circle. Yanez finished the season 9-1. Diaz was 8-0 and Dial held her own at 5-1. Yanez was the workhorse in the shortened season throwing over 60 innings for the Ducks.

Oregon was the only team that ranked nationally in the top fifteen for batting average, ERA, and fielding percentage. Despite the shortened season, Lombardi certainly has something to build on for the 2021 season that should be in line to compete for the Pac-12 and a trip to the Women’s College World Series.