ASHLAND, Ore. --- No. 17 Oregon Tech (41-8) stunned the No. 1 team in the nation, Southern Oregon (46-4), in a 5-0 win in the CCC Tournament on Saturday.
No matter how many runs Oregon Tech scored, as long as it was more than zero, the Owls were sure to win. That was in thanks to Tech ace Sarah Abramson. Abramson pitched another complete game after pitching 13 innings over two games on Friday. Abramson held SOU to 6 six hits and no runs. The victory was Abramson's 22nd on the year.
"I think just our offense and the vibe we all have going on right now is just kind of firing me up," said Abramson. "When I feel like I'm out of juice they give me some of theirs. So it's been fun."
SOU ace Gabby Sandoval, on the other hand, did not have such a great day. Sandoval came out after just 2.1 innings and took just her 2nd loss of the season. In those two innings, Sandoval allowed six hits and five runs. Those five runs included a home run from Maggie Buckholtz. SOU head coach Jessica Pistole pulled Sandoval after that 3rd inning home run.
Lauren Quirke came into replace Sandoval, but it was too late at that point. Even with Quirke's 3.2 innings of only allowing three hits and no runs, OIT had already done the damage it needed to do.
The first two innings went by rather quickly.
Then, in the bottom of the 3rd, the OIT bats came to life. Tech's Kaila Mick singled to right which was followed by a Businger single. Krista Ward followed with a single of her own and the bases were juiced.
With the bases loaded, Kennedy Jantzi singled one to left and brought Mick and Businger across the plate. OIT took a 2-0 lead.
Just moments later, Maggie Buckholtz stepped up to the plate and launched Sandoval's pitch to right field and sent it over the wall. Suddenly, Oregon Tech held a 5-0 lead.
"Honestly, I just say that I'm better than them. I'm going to do it. I'm going to come up to the plate and make it happen," said Buckholtz. "I'm not going to let a pitch go by. That's the pitch for me."
Over the final four innings, SOU would strand a runner in each inning but Abramson was in too consistent of a rhythm for the Raiders to muster anything.
Highlights from their 5-0 win over No. 1 SOU: pic.twitter.com/pdWSZO9Jui
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"Just a combination of having a pitcher like that and then players that are starting to get confident at the plate, being aggressive and trying to make something happen, not hoping that something's going to happen," said OIT head coach Greg Stewart.
It is the first time since February 7 of 2020 that SOU had been shutout. That shutout was against an NCAA Division II Embery-Riddle team. It is also SOU's first loss in its last 11 CCC Tournament games. SOU came into the day having a 49-1 record in its last 50 home games.
"Nothing's broken. Nothing is like, 'Oh my gosh, we have to do this drill' or something like that," said SOU head coach Jessica Pistole. "But we just need to shift our mentality and our approach a little bit in the box and, yeah, just attack. Come out and play our game."
The win for OIT puts the Owls into the championship round on Sunday. The opponent is still to be determined. No matter which team it is, OIT is one win away from claiming the conference title.
Southern Oregon can still make and win the CCC Championship. Southern Oregon will take on the winner of College of Idaho and Warner Pacific. SOU's Sunday game is to be played at 11 a.m. The winner of that game will advance to the championship but will have to beat Oregon Tech twice to win the tournament.