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How Oregon won: On this Memorial Day weekened, the No. 3 Oregon Ducks softball team proved once again why they are one of the best in the nation and one of the toughest at home. Oregon got off to a slow start, just trying to put the pieces of this No. 14 Kentucky team together and getting settled into this Super Regionals atmosphere. But the juice finally came in the sixth inning where the Ducks scored three runs on zero hits. Wait, what? Regardless, the Ducks hot hitting in the sixth inning and solid defense propelled Oregon to a 4-0 shutout and more importantly a 1-0 series lead over Kentucky in the NCAA Eugene Super Regional.
"A good ball game, a pitchers duel," said Oregon head coach Mike White following the game. "I thought it was going to end up a 1-0, 2-0 game, you know you don't see that very much anymore but I thought [Kentucky pitcher Meagan] Prince pitched a very good game, kept us off balance. But we came through with some big hits and of course that last inning we scored three runs without a hit. So that's the definition of scrappy for us."
What it means: Advantage Oregon. This is a best two-out-of-three series against the Kentucky Wildcats. Winning this first game is crucial, but also no excuse to let your foot off the gas. If Oregon can pull out another win tomorrow, the Ducks will be booking their flights to the WCWS.
Oregon pitching: Sophomore Megan Kleist started this series off today at 4:05 PM with a strike. The Kentucky batters would have to get use to that all game. It seemed as those Kliest found her groove and her comfortability early and often in this game, a completely different demeanor from last week's regionals games vs. Wisconsin. What a difference a week of practice can make. Kleist would finish the game allowing 0 runs, 3 hits, 0 base on balls, and 8 strikeouts.
"I thought Megan Kleist pitched the best game I've seen of her career," said White. "So she really picked it up and lead this team out there on the mound."
"We've really been focusing all year on throwing quality pitches and I think that today what definitely my best day," said Kleist. "I mean they didn't have to be strikes but made the batter swing and kind of fooled them a little bit and I think that it showed. It was nice."
Oregon defense: The Ducks backed up Kleist to near perfection. The Ducks finished the game with 0 errors. After the game, White explained that Kentucky's hitters don't stay quite for long. The Oregon defense will have to see this consistency through the whole weekend.
Oregon offense: Definitely off to a slow start, just trying to figure out Kentucky left-handed senior pitcher Meagan Prince. Then finally, the hits started to pour in. Oregon scored in the bottom of the third inning getting back to the Oregon-way: a beautifully placed bunt from infielder Alexis mack, a steal into second, and a RBI single to the outfield from catcher Gwen Svekis.
"I think we're the best team with two outs right now," said Svekis. "Two outs, I have full confidence that we can still score as many runs as we need to to put the nail in the coffin or to get back into the game. So I think that's our big thing this year is we scratch and we claw and we find a way to get on and we find a way to get them in."
The sixth inning is where Oregon began to "put the nail in the coffin". Oregon found momentum and success in that scrappy offense and finished the inning with three runs, zero hits, and capitalized on one Kentucky error. An important stat to recognize is the fact that all those runs came with no hits. The Ducks got on base by a walk, hit by pitch, and then groundouts and one error from there brought in three runs.
Up next: Oregon will host Kentucky at 4 PM tomorrow in round two of the Eugene Super Regional at Jane Sanders stadium.
Chip Kelly has finally landed a gig. This time though looks a little different... Want to see more of Chip Kelly's iconic TV interviews? Well now you can. Former Oregon Ducks head football coach and NFL Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly will be joing the ESPN staff as a college football analyst on Saturday's and appearing on SportsCenter to provide NFL analysis on Sunday's.
"I spoke with a lot of people this offseason about different situations for me — in coaching and TV," Kelly said in a statement. "I had various opportunities in both. In the end, I have had a relationship with ESPN for many years from when I was coaching and after speaking with them, I decided it was the best step for me to take."
Kelly, who was with the Oregon Ducks from 2009-2012, accumluated a 46-7 record and lead them to a Rose Bowl victory in 2011 and a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2012 before heading the NFL. His three-year NFL coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2015) came to a hault after recording 10-6, 10-6, and 6-9 seasons. Kelly then made his way to the Bay to coach the 49ers for just one season after going 2-14.
Be sure to check out this article for more information on the move.
BY: JARREAU BROWN, OSN
One of track and field’s yearly traditions will take place this weekend in Eugene Oregon. The Prefontaine Classic held at Hayward Field hosts some of the sport’s best athletes and will kick off the majority of their outdoor seasons. The beauty in the name of the meet embodies the high level of competition. Steve Prefontaine on many accounts is considered the best distance runner to come out of the storied University of Oregon program. Furthermore, Pre fought for athlete rights and compensation at a time when Olympians weren’t fairly paid. This essentially lead to these athletes having their current platforms and livelihoods. Below are the names and storylines to watch at Friday and Saturday’s meet.
There will be a host of Ducks participating in the meet. Jenna Prandini will have her hands full in the 200m with the decorated Olympian Allyson Felix. The women’s 400m hurdles brings a trio of runners with Olympic experience in Dalilah Muhammad, Ashley Spencer and Shamier Little. Muhammad and Spencer walked away from the Rio Olympics with gold and bronze medals. Lastly, the 100m hurdles field of runners includes Kristi Castlin, Nia Ali and Dawn Harper-Nelson. Nelson a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Ali a 2016 silver medalist and Castlin a 2016 bronze medalist should give the fans a true treat.
Devon Allen headlines the men’s 110m hurdles and he’ll be accompanied by two former Olympians in Aries Merrit and the seasoned veteran David Oliver. The men’s 100m dash should be a thrill. If you were a fan of the race in the Rio Olympics you should recognize a few faces. The silver medalist Justin Gatlin will be participating along with the 2016 bronze medalist Andre De Grasse. Ronnie Baker is a name to keep in mind, as he’s the only runner in the field to run under 10.0s this year. We won’t have another LaShawn Merritt vs. Kirani James matchup this year, however the field does bring something to the table. Merritt (3rdplace in 2016 Olympics), Vernon Norwood, Tony McQuay, and Baboloki Thebe, whom have all run under 45s, will be a part of this year’s race. The triple jump to the surprise of many may be the best event of the meet, which includes the silver and gold medalists from the 2016 Olympics. If you’re looking for fireworks, Will Claye and Christian Taylor should be able to provide the crowd with a few. Finally, the Bowerman mile, the meets lead event will include a host of Kenyans, many of which are making their season debut.
The meet will begin Friday at 7 and there will be coverage on NBC enjoy!
BY: MIRIAM LUDLOW, OSN
With time, we have witnessed athletes jump into the spotlight at young ages. A few to name are: Kobe Bryant, 17 years old when he was drafted by the NBA; Julio Urias, joined the Dodgers, MLB at the age of 19 and who could forget Freddy Adu, drafted by the MLS at only 14 years of age. While they all share the “young professional athlete” status, each of their careers has its own story to tell. Today OSN has the pleasure of giving you an insight view to the life of Marco Farfan, the youngest Timbers’ player.
Marco Farfan was born November 12, 1998. He is 19 years old and attends Centennial High School. A graduate of the Timbers Academy, he is the first homegrown player the Timbers enlist into their ranks. With 19 years of age, one has to wonder where did the dream start for such a young player, but most important how does he balance it all. To give us an understanding of how it all works OSN had a 1:1 with Marco himself.
OSN: What is it like to be in High School and a professional soccer player?
Marco: It’s nice. I need to graduate. I am only taking a class right now; That is all I have left (college English).
OSN: What kind of impact does going to school while playing pro soccer have on your concentration when you are playing? This is demanding, how do you balance that?
Marco: I kind of got used to it since last year. Obviously with T2 I did it, like I said before and last year I was taking more classes than this year so it kind of gets easier as it goes. I switch my concentration if I am at school or at soccer, so I just focus.
OSN: I read that you grew up in a family that loves soccer. So did I. My family breaths, eats, sleep soccer and even some rivalry. What was it like growing up in your family?
Marco: I mean we didn’t have that rivalry going on between us. My whole family goes for the same team, Mexican team PUMAS. My mom is from Mexico City, my dad is from Michoacan. So we would just go to a couple of games when I was younger to PUMAS and every time we would go on vacation we would at least try to make one game.
OSN: How do you get from being a fan to being here?
Marco: I feel like I just stayed focused in soccer. I really wanted to become a professional soccer player, just watching my brother play, so that kind of inspired me. I wanted to be like him and try to be like him or better than him. So with my whole family’s support it helped me focus on soccer and stay away from the bad distractions at school and stuff, so I felt that kind of helped out.
OSN: You are a young player. Most of the players at the Timbers are older, some even parents. What is that like to play with others who are at a different stage in life than you are?
Marco: I don’t know. It is not that much of a difference for me, because I mean, I have my own little nephew at home. My sister lives with us; I take him as my little brother. Just playing with these guys they have kids of their own and I feel their support they have for me. And you know they really help me out when I am in the field with them.
OSN: What is the one thing you have learned the most about so far with the Timbers?
Marco: I feel like I just had confidence, (in my opinion), obviously the coaches, the whole coaching staff, the whole organization and staff have been very supportive. I feel like I have been improving, I feel like I have improved in my defensive work and you know that is my position, I am a defender so that is something I really need to work on every single time and have it down and I feel my defensive work has grown.
OSN: I heard you missed Prom. How was that?
Marco: Yeah. I don’t think many of my friends went. They made this rule you got to have 80% of attendance to go to Prom. So when they made that rule everyone was in shock so not many people went. I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to go, so it wasn’t a surprise. But, I am happy as long as I am playing.
OSN: What can we expect from you for the rest of the season?
Marco: You know I am just going to keep on working hard and obviously try to get better every day and depending on how I do, I hope I do well and it’s up to the coaches to see what they want to do with me.
Marco’s tenure with the Timbers is as young as he is. He has started his career with the right foot, by not only playing but being part of at least three starts so far this season. And yes, while most of his team mates have a striking different life, that is only off the field as Marco goes through the same training regimes and has the same expectations upon him any of the other players have.
Judging by the amount of play time he has earned so far, it is safe to say that not only do his teammates support his talent but Coach Porter trusts him as a player too.
Marco certainly highlights the success the investment the club has put into the Timbers Academy and of course the dedication of producing players ready to step into the professional level at this age.
Marco is known for being extremely dedicated and passionate about his game. His love for the game is tangible and his commitment for sure is one to witness through his game.
Marco and the Timbers play the Seattle Sounders this coming Saturday, May 27, at 12:00 PM at CenturyLink in Seattle, Washington.
The former Portland Trail Blazers guard is making a big name and now another big move in the high school coaching basketball world. Brandon Roy will now be returning to his alma mater Garfield High School in Seattle, WA to coach the men's basketball team.
It's official!! Brandon Roy is the new Garfield basketball head coach. #legacy— Garfield High Sports (@garfield_sports) May 25, 2017
After a successful first 2016-2017 coaching season at Nathan Hale High School, also in Seattle, WA, Roy coached the Raiders to a perfect 29-0 overall record, a 15-0 district record, a WIAA 3A State Championship, a No. 1 national ranking, and the No. 1 prospect in the nation Michael Porter Jr. He was also awarded the Naismith National HS Coach of the Year (2017). Not a bad first year at all.
Roy now looks to continue his coaching successes at Garfield High School, who last season had an overall record of 23-6, three of those losses coming from Roy and Nathan Hale. Last season, Garfield held the No. 2 overall WA state ranking behind Nathan Hale, a No. 47 national ranking, and a visit to the WIAA 3A state championship game but lost 68-51 to you guessed it, Nathan Hale. Can you smell a little rivalry in the air? This move from Roy should make this upcoming WIAA 3A basketball season very interesting.
Former Garfield coach Ed Haskins, who is now joining the Washington State Cougars men's basketball staff, tweeted about Roy heading to the "Dogghouse":
For more information on this move from Roy, check out this article from Seattle Times reporter Nathan Joyce.
I think back to the Trail Blazers' first-round exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Golden State Warriors and can't help but smile.
So many people were frustrated and disappointed that the Blazers were swept. They expected more out of their team and couldn't accept that they couldn't win one game or even take a game down to the final shot before losing.
Well, how does that look now? Nobody in the West could handle those guys and I don't expect that to change anytime soon.
So if somebody asks me what we learned from the playoffs to this point it's that fans of the Trail Blazers must find some patience. Folks, you aren't close enough to the Warriors -- barring a miracle or catastrophic injury to more than one Warrior player -- to challenge them anytime soon. It's just not yet realistic to believe.
Yes, Portland improved last season with the acquisition of Jusuf Nurkic. But the Blazers -- and just about everyone else in the West -- still have a long way to go.
That's where the patience -- and some understanding of the situation -- comes in.
Instead of making a futile, desperate effort to beat what appears to be at least a temporary dynasty, it's best to plan to be the franchise on the rise. You want to be the team patiently putting the building blocks together so that when the Warriors begin to fade, you will be ready to challenge. The Trail Blazers are doing this -- making incremental changes to improve their roster WITHOUT MORTGAGING THE FUTURE! I give them full credit for resisting the pressure to make a panic move.
The Celtics have done that, too. General Manager Danny Ainge has resisted the urges of fans and media to pull the trigger on a big deal that would cost his franchise all those draft picks and young players. He's been waiting for the Cavaliers to drop back a little. But Boston has been ahead of schedule getting to the Eastern Conference finals and has nothing to lose at this point. I think, though, it's obvious the Celts are still a player or two away from being able to seriously challenge Cleveland.
Of course, that's what Boston's first-round pick is for this season.
The key thing to remember, Portland is not -- and should not -- be in the market for a high-priced rent-a-player. This is not the time for a big-ticket free agent who will be here for a season and then head to another franchise. One season of Paul George, for example, would not do this team any good and it's time people --including Portland players -- stopped talking about it. George has his sights set on southern California, most likely with the Lakers, and the price that would have to be paid to acquire him is too steep.
Now don't misunderstand me, if there's a chance for Portland to make a major leap by trading multiple players not including Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Nurkic, I would expect the Trail Blazers to do so. As long as the player acquired is under team control for the long term. This is no time to roll the dice on a futile one-year mission to catch Golden State.
The plain truth is, those guys are just too good right now. Whether they win the title this season or not, it's one of the most formidable rosters ever put together in the NBA. At some point, though, that roster will split up through injury or free agency and come back to the pack.
The smart play is the long play. Be the team in waiting.
Build. And build one piece at a time, taking the long view. Think about two or three seasons from now. Be smart and strategic. Develop the players who are here now -- there is time for improvement, individually and as a team. Use the time as a positive so that when the situation is right, this team is fully prepared to make the next step.
Yes, that's going to be difficult for some fans (and players) to swallow but until we see signs of cracks in the Golden State foundation, it's best to show some patience.
It's a virtue, you know.
It has been nearly a month since the Oregon State Beavers dropped a game on the diamond (an April 29 loss to USC), and with the regular season ending this weekend they look to keep it that way.
Oregon State, the consensus number one team in the country, plays host to Abilene Christian in a four-game set to end the season. The Beavers have already clinched the conference title, and even if second place Stanford wins it’s remaining three games, the Beavers will end the season with a six-game cushion. The last time a Pac-12 team won by six games or more was in 1985, when Stanford won the then Pac-10 South with a six-game lead. So let's just say it has been awhile since a Pac-12 team has taken home a conference title with such ease.
While the Beavers have locked up a spot in the field of 64 for the NCAA Tournament, there is still plenty on the line this weekend. A series sweep of the Wildcats will all but guarantee the Beavers the No.1 overall seed (if they haven’t locked it in already), and will also cement the 2017 Beavers in the record books.
OSU needs to win its final four games to finish the season at 49-4, which would net them a .925 winning percentage, passing the .914 of the 1972 Arizona State Sun Devils for the highest single-season winning percentage of all-time and put a cap on an incredible regular season.
So how did the Beavers get here? With perhaps the greatest season in program history. To this point the Beavers have won 45 games, tying the program record for single-season victories set in 2013. They won 27 conference games, breaking the league record 26 wins Arizona State amassed in 1981. And their .900 winning percentage in conference play; the best since the league expanded to the Pac-10 in 1979.
A quick look at the some of their team stats, and you will continue to be amazed. Oregon State leads the nation in ERA (1.87), shutouts (11), WHIP (.98), WL percentage (.918) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.27). LHP Luke Heimlich leads the nation with a .87 ERA, while RHP Jake Thompson has the nation's third lowest ERA at 1.01.
Put this all together and it’s no wonder the Beavers have been ranked the No.1 team in the country for nine straight weeks. Head coach Pat Casey has said all season that the Beavers only goal was to win the Pac-12. They did that, quite easily, so now it’s time to focus on the road to Omaha and seeing if they can repeat the magic of 2006 and 2007 and bring a championship to Corvallis.
It is obvious that only time will tell if the Beavers will win it all. It is also more than obvious that OSU is the best team in baseball and most certainly the favorite to do so.
The only question remaining is which teams will the Beavers have to get through to book a trip to Nebraska? We will find out on Monday, May 29 when the Division I Baseball Committee unveils its selections for the field of 64.
How Oregon won: What a difference playing a team twice means. It was a different story today for the No. 3 overall seed, who played Wisconsin yesterday in a valiant, 6-5 comeback win. Today, Oregon seemed more confortable, had a better read on Wisconsin pitcher Kaitlyn Menz, defensively stood its ground, which resulted in an overall rout of Wisconsin forcing the run-rule to win the Eugene Regionals final 9-0. Wow.
"A lot less suspenseful," said Oregon head coach Mike White following the game. "Much easier on me... It really puts you in the drivers seat when you have that two-win cushion. You know that got to beat you twice. I don't know if we learned from last year against UCLA but we took the fun out of it early and that was pretty good. Congrats to Miranda [Elish] pitched very well and also had a couple of good hits there... overall a good performance."
What it means: The Ducks now advance to Super Regionals to be played in Eugene. Oregon will face Kentucky next weekend at Jane Sanders stadium. This is huge because the Ducks will get to play another series at home in front of their home crowd and hold a 24-2 home record.
One Duck who was an offensive threat all weekend long was freshman center fielder Shannon Rhodes who continued to hit well and produce RBI's.
"Pretty much what they've been doing all year for us," said White. "Especially Shannon Rhodes, I give her the MVP ball for our team. I thought she produced all weekend. The first half of the season she struggled a little bit, you know, she I think she was pressing to hard... since that time she has just been making adjustments and really stepping up for us big in that position.
Oregon pitching: Freshman Miranda Elish got the nod today. Elish finished allowing 0 runs, 1 hit, 3 base on balls, and 2 strikeouts. The Badgers had only seen the other Oregon pitchers in the previous game (freshman Maggie Balit and sophomore Megan Kleist), so Elish had that advantage coming into the game. And she capitalized. She got ahead in the pitch count and relied on her defense to back her up. The one hit came from a base-hit up the middle. Elish also contributed on the offensive side as well going 2-for-3 and 2 RBI's.
Oregon defense: What started up front for the Ducks from Elish, finished with a solid defensive effort from the Oregon infield and outfield. It seemed like every Ducks infielder made several plays at some point during this game. Elish forced the Badgers hitters into groundouts and popflys, and it was an all-out defensive effort from every one. The team only had one error on the day.
Oregon offense: After seeing Menz pitch the day before, Oregon batters recognized her style early and often. The Ducks poured in four runs in the first inning and five more in the fifth enforcing the run-rule and finishing the game with nine runs, nine hits, and nine RBI's.
"Me personally, she just didn't throw it for strikes as well as she did yesterday," said Oregon senior infielder Danica Mercado (who went on Wisconsin pitcher Menz. "Yesterday I felt like she was really commanding it in any count and today she was kind of throwing it a little high, a little low, so it made me able to not worry about it less and just focus on the hard."
Up next: No. 3 Oregon hosts Kentucky in the Eugene Super Regionals Memorial Day weekend at Jane Sanders Stadium.
How Oregon won: A roller coaster of events in this round two NCAA Eugene Regional game between the No. 3 overall seeded Oregon Ducks and the Wisconsin Badgers. What started as a huge momentum swing for the Ducks stemming from two quick Badgers infield errors and two Ducks runs, quickly swung in the other direction. A two-run home run in the second from Badgers' senior Chloe Miller and another two-run home run from Badgers' senior Sara Novak completely silenced Oregon and extended Wisconsin's lead to 5-2 heading into the sixth.
But this Oregon team is scrappy. This comeback started with freshman Shannon Rhodes doing Shannon Rhodes things. The freshman, known for her number of RBI's, placed her bunts so accurately and her speed allowed her to safely get to first. A quick steal to second, advance to third on a wild pitch, and a Miranda Elish sacrifice fly lead to Rhodes scoring to close the gap to 5-3 Wisconsin lead. This sparked another momentum swing, this time in Oregon's favor.
One inning left to go. Two outs already on the board. Ducks' fans biting their nails. But Oregon found a way when hope was dwindling. With runners on second and third, Rhodes came up big. The freshman delivered once again, but this time on a double that lead to two Oregon scores and tying the game 5-5. A solid defensive stance from Oregon forced this game into extra innings.
"It's like coach Kolaitis said 'probably the most important run was the run in the sixth inning, getting that one run back'," said Oregon head coach Mike White. "It kind of gave us momentum going into the seventh. We were lucky Miranda [Elish] hit a shot to the right fielder and gosh just the way the game works in the last inning she hit a little squibbler and it's a base hit, go figure. But we could feel we were starting to get onto her [Wisconsin pitcher Kaitlyn Menz] at the end there."
A controversial call at the plate is what gave Oregon the 6-5 edge in the eighth inning. Elish was waved into home from head coach Mike White after a base hit into center field. It was a bang-bang play at the plate that was ultimately called obstruction from the Badgers' catcher giving Oregon their first lead since the first inning.
Oregon pitching: Sophomore Megan Kleist got the start today, but her day ended in the bottom of the fourth inning after finishing on 85 pitches, three runs, two walks, seven strikeouts and one home run. Freshman Maggie Balit, who got the start last night in game one, came in to relieve her. Balit finished aloowing four hits, two runs scored, six strikeouts and one base on balls.
Oregon offense: Capitalizing on errors, advancing runners, bunt placement, the list goes on for Oregon. At least in the first inning. As Wisconsin freshman pitcher Kaitlyn Menz got settled in, the Oregon bats got quiet and couldn't get the ball past the Badgers infield.
Oregon defense: The Ducks got off to a slow start defensively with two errors from the infield in the first inning. With the bases loaded of Badgers, Kleist came through with a huge strikeout to end the inning and get Oregon out of potential disaster. Kleist seemed to get more and more comfortable as the game went on.
"I think in the first couple innings, she didn't have her changeup going," said White on Kleist's pitching performance. "She's effective when she's throwing that changeup for a strike. I thought her pitches were moving pretty well, she just got pitches up in the zone. That's always been her problem and always will be her problem."
Oregon finished the game with three total errors. Not good.
Up next: The Ducks will face the winner of Wisconsin vs. winner of regionals game 4 (University of Illinois-Chicago vs. Missouri) at 4 PM tomorrow at Jane Sanders Stadium.