EUGENE - In NCAA Tournament second-day action, the University of Oregon softball team (41-15) advanced to the regional final after its 6-4 win over BYU (44-14) Friday morning at Howe Field.
The #11 tourney-seeded Ducks struck for five runs in the third inning, and another in the fourth, and held off a late Cougar rally. The Western Athletic Conference champions scored twice in both the fourth and fifth innings, and had the bases loaded in the latter stanza before junior starter Jessica Moore (29-12) got Stacie Toney to strike out.
Duck senior Christie Nieto boosted UO at the plate with her second grand slam of the campaign and third the past two seasons.Samantha Pappas, walk to junior Kaylan Howard and single by senior Kelsey Chambers. Sophomore Kailee Cuico followed with an RBI single down the left field line for her ninth game-winning RBI of the season.
Freshman Janie Takeda (2-for-3) added her 14th multi-hit game of the season - second-most on the squad.
Five other Ducks hit safely once.
In the circle for UO, Moore struck out 10 - her second-highest tally of the season. The two-time All-Pac-12 pick walked five, allowed five hits, and two her four runs allowed were earned.
At the plate for BYU, four batters hit safely once.
The All-Pac-12 honorable mention choice lined her ninth homer of the season over the right center field wall in the third inning, and less than a month after she hit a four-run shot in an 11-7 win at then-No. 11 Arizona.
Just before Nieto's at-bat, the Ducks loaded the bases on a single by junior
For the game, Pappas (3-for-4) paced UO in hits after she led off the game with a double, and singled in the fourth inning.
BYU scored its opening runs in the fourth after it opened the inning with a Tiffany Messerschmidt single and one-out Katie Manuma walk. Stacie Toney lined an RBI single, and a second run scored on a throwing error by the shortstop.
In the fifth inning, after a walk and pair of singles loaded the bases, the Cougars added two runs on a pair of bases-loaded walks, before Moore ended the threat with her 'K' of Toney.
BYU starter Hannah Howell (20-8) struck out two, walked one, gave up 10 hits, allowed six runs, and all six of her runs allowed were earned.
Caroline Umphlett pitched the next inning, struck out one, walked two and allowed no hits. Tori Almond pitched the final inning, and logged no strikeouts or walks.
The Ducks meet BYU again in the NCAA Regional final on Saturday.
The first game is set for a noon start and if Oregon was to lose that game, a second game would be played immediately after to determine who advances to play the winner of the Austin Regional.