OKLAHOMA CITY – Baylor couldn’t quite carry its magic from the Arizona desert to the Oklahoma plains.
Despite a torrid comeback against Oregon, the Lady Bears failed to win a game for the first time in four Women’s College World Series appearances.
The Lady Bears put major pressure on Oregon when they rallied from a five-run deficit with a four-run fifth inning.
But Mia Camuso pounded a two-run double in the seventh as the No. 3 Ducks held on for a 7-4 win on a rainy Saturday afternoon to send the No. 15 Lady Bears home with their second straight loss before 8,696 fans at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Baylor won one game in its first World Series appearance in 2007 before winning two in both its 2011 and 2014 trips. But after stunning No. 2 Arizona in the Super Regional, Baylor (48-15) opened the World Series with Thursday’s 6-3 loss to No. 10 Oklahoma before being eliminated by Oregon (53-7).
But there were few people who thought the Lady Bears would reach college softball’s grand stage.
“Anybody that followed us throughout the postseason knows this team doesn’t quit,” said Baylor coach Glenn Moore. “They’re a gritty bunch with a lot of talent. But we dug ourselves in a hole once again and you just can’t do that this time of year and expect to keep going out of it. It’s going to bite you eventually.”
With Baylor trailing 5-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, Oregon starter Miranda Elish (12-0) hit Taylor Ellis with a pitch before Sydney Christensen delivered Baylor’s first hit with an infield single.
“I just wanted to fight for my seniors,” Christensen said. “I’m really close with all of them and I didn’t want it to be their last game. I really didn’t think of it being a no-hitter until I got the hit.”
Maddison Kettler grounded to second baseman Lauren Lindvall who tried to throw out Ellis at third. But third baseman Jenna Lilley muffed the throw and Ellis scored Baylor’s first run.
Christensen scored on Lindsey Cargill’s ground out before Kettler scored on Kyla Walker’s infield single.
The Lady Bears cut Oregon’s lead to 5-4 when Walker came across on Shelby Friudenberg’s single.
After relieving Gia Rodoni with two outs in the third and Baylor trailing 4-0, Kelsee Selman pitched superbly until the Ducks scored a pair of seventh-inning runs.
Oregon loaded the bases before Camuso drilled a two-run double to left field to extend the lead to 7-4. It was Camuso’s second two-run double.
“She’s a tough out,” Selman said. “I threw three riseballs to her in a row. But I had a 3-2 count, so I was just trying to get her to pop up somewhere, and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.”
But the Lady Bears weren’t through as they loaded the bases against Maggie Balint when Kettler walked and Cargill and Walker singled. But Megan Kleist relieved and struck out Ari Hawkins and Shelby Friudenberg before forcing Shelby McGlaun to ground out to end the game.
McGlaun’s three-run homer in the seventh inning against Arizona in the series finale propelled Baylor to the World Series, but she couldn’t handle Kleist. It marked the second straight year Oregon ended Baylor’s season after last year’s loss in the Eugene regional.
“I just kept believing that a ball was about to leave the park and we were going to have a walk-off, but it didn’t happen,” Moore said. “She came in and devastated us with that changeup and beat some good hitters.”
Before Baylor’s rally, Oregon dominated the game.
Making her first start since throwing a pair of no-hitters two weeks ago in the Waco regional, Rodoni (18-4) gave up a pair of runs in both the second and third innings.
In the second inning, Sammie Puentes singled, stole second and scored on a wild pitch with two outs. Lindvall reached on a fielder’s choice before Lilley banged a run-scoring double off the right-field wall.
After an hour, 13-minute rain delay, Oregon scored two more against Rodoni as Alexis Mack and Nikki Udria singled and scored on Camuso’s two-run double to left field in the third inning.
“I don’t think the rain bothered me much,” Rodoni said. “It was just a good offense I was going against, and I knew it would be tough, and they just got the better of me today.”
The Ducks extended their lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth when Mack singled, stole second and scored on Shannon Rhodes’ single off Selman.