TEMPE, Ariz. – The third-ranked Oregon softball team opened its 2018 season with an 8-3 win over No. 25 Georgia on Thursday night at Farrington Stadium.
The Ducks (1-0) won their season opener for the fourth year in a row to kick off their weekend at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.
How it Happened: Catcher Gwen Svekis got her senior season off to a booming start in the first inning, drilling a two-run home run to center field to give Oregon an early 2-0 lead.
Sophomore Shannon Rhodes extended the Ducks' lead to 3-0 with an RBI double to center in the third inning, and fellow sophomore Mia Camuso followed two batters later with a run-scoring single to make it 4-0.
Georgia got on the board in the bottom of the third inning with a leadoff home run from Kendall Burton.
Svekis produced with two outs again in the fourth inning to push the Oregon lead back to four, singling to center to score Jenna Lilley, who singled and stole second.
Rhodes drove in two more runs in the sixth inning, ripping a mammoth home run to left field to make it 7-1, Oregon.
Georgia picked up a run in both the sixth and seventh innings, but it wasn't enough as the Ducks finished off the victory to open the season. The Ducks were able to limit Georgia to just the one run in the sixth thanks to a terrific throw from right fielder Haley Cruse to cut a runner down at the plate and end the inning.
At the Plate: Svekis led the Ducks with three hits while driving in three runs, and Rhodes also had three RBIs while going 2-for-3 with two extra-base hits and three runs scored. Lilley and Alexis Mack each had two hits, and Camuso finished 1-for-3 with an RBI. As a team, Oregon drew seven walks and struck out just once.
In the Circle: Junior ace Megan Kleist (1-0) earned the win while allowing three runs over six-plus innings with six strikeouts and two walks. Head coach Mike White went to Maggie Balint after back-to-back Georgia singles to start the seventh, and the sophomore finished off the game while punctuating the victory with a strikeout.
What it Means: Not only did the Ducks open their season with a victory, but they did so against a ranked Georgia team that won its season opener 23-2 against San Diego State earlier in the day.
Up Next: The Ducks continue with the Kajikawa Classic on Friday with a pair of games. Oregon will take on Fresno State at Farrington Stadium at 8 a.m. PT before facing Cal State Northridge at 1 p.m. at the Tempe Sports Complex.
Story provided by UO Athletics.