Eugene, Ore. -- Despite a 2-2 weekend in the Clearwater Invitational, Oregon softball moved up to No. 17 in the country, a rank due in no small part to the Ducks stunning upset of No. 8 LSU last week. Despite two run rule losses to now-No. 18 James Madison and No. 16 Kentucky, optimism is high for Oregon even as depth issues have reared their head more than once early in the year. Oregon's pitching depth behind ace Jordan Dail has struggled mightily in their appearances this season: Maddie MacGrandle has an 8.57 ERA through six appearances and four starts, amassing a 2-2 record.
"She's not exactly where she wants to be right now, she would say that, I would say that," says head coach Melyssa Lombardi. "I know she's gonna get there. She's here for a reason. Right now with our season going on, you want everything and everyone to be at their best right now. And for us, we can feel that pressure if we have a couple that are not where they need to be...I keep telling her to relax, settle in...we got you."
Even with the questions around their pitching staff, Oregon has shown that they have had no trouble at the plate. The Ducks are batting .340 as a team, good for 28th in the nation, and 3rd in the Pac-12. Freshman third base player Rachel Cid has been a revelation, garnering Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors following the Ducks first tournament of the year in the second week of February.
"I just came out playing my game," says Cid. "I just try to square the ball up, get on for my teammates so they can get us. It was a surprise to get the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week but our team really works hard together and it's a team effort at the end of the day."
The Ducks now head to Cathedral City, California for a weekend full of games, beginning with two on Thursday and concluding with a matchup against UC Santa Barbara on Sunday.