EUGENE – Just over two weeks away from its season opener, the University of Oregon softball team put the finishing touches on another spring schedule featuring many of the nation’s top teams.
Among the Ducks’ 56 games against 36 opponents, returning World Series advancer Oregon plays four other WCWS returnees in national runner-up Oklahoma, Arizona State, California and LSU.
The Ducks will face three other Super Regional advancers (Arizona, Michigan, Washington), four more NCAA Regional finalists (Florida, Oregon State, San Diego State, Stanford) and five other NCAA tourney qualifiers (Hawai’i, Long Beach State, Long Island, Portland State and UCLA).
“As always, the Pac-12 will be incredibly strong,” Oregon head coach Mike White said, “so we wanted to test ourselves early against great pitching. That’s exactly what we’ll get our first weekend against Oklahoma and Florida, and the rest of the non-conference slate is equally tough.”
Overall, the Ducks will play 32 contests against 16 returning tournament qualifiers from last year’s 64-team NCAA tournament field.
Among the team’s 19 other foes this spring, six others were recent NCAA tourney advancers, including Nebraska (’11, ’10, ‘09), Western Michigan (’11), Virginia (’10), Cal Poly (’09), Cal State Fullerton (’09) and UNLV (’09).
On Thursday, February 7, the Ducks kick off the season vs. Western Michigan in the Kajikawa Classic tournament in Tempe, Ariz.
In the subsequent five weeks, UO’s 32-game non-conference slate will also include tournaments in Las Vegas (Louisville Slugger Classic, February 15-17), Palm Springs, Calif. (Cathedral City Classic, February 22-24), Orlando, Fla. (Citrus Classic, March 1-3) and Fresno, Calif. (Bayer Cropscience Classic, March 8-9).
UO’s first home tilt is against returning New Mexico on Wednesday, March 13, and its other non-league tilts will be doubleheaders at Portland State (4/16) and at home vs. Seattle (5/1).
Oregon opens Pac-12 play at home vs. Stanford, Saturday-Monday, March 23-25, and has three other league homestands vs. Utah (4/2-3), Arizona (4/12-14) and Oregon State (5/3-5). UO’s other league series will be at Washington (3/28-30), California (4/6-7), UCLA (4/26-27) and Arizona State (5/9-11).
On Friday-Sunday, May 16-19 the 64-team NCAA Tournament kicks off with regional play at 16 sites nationally. Super Regional action follows the next weekend at eight sites, Thursday-Saturday, May 23-26, and the Women’s College World Series, returns to Oklahoma City, Okla., on Thursday-Wednesday, May 30-June 5.
Softball fans across the nation can catch eight Duck conference tilts on Pac-12 Networks, vs. NCAA tourney veterans Stanford (3/24), Washington (3/29), California (4/7), Arizona (4/14), Oregon State (5/3, 5/5) and Arizona State (5/10, 5/11).
Coming off their second-ever World Series trip, the Ducks celebrated one of their greatest seasons ever in 2012.
Oregon staked a 45-18 overall record and 13-9 mark in the Pac-12 - the nation’s top softball league (verified by its 24 national titles in 31 seasons).
Among other team highlights, UO capped the campaign ranked fifth in both national polls; placed third in the Pac-12 for the second straight season; and scored its second-most wins ever.
This season’s 20-person roster is one of its most decorated and features two All-Americans – senior outfielder Samantha Pappas and senior pitcher Jessica Moore.
Last May, the duo were tabbed to All-Region Teams with senior second baseman Kaylan Howard, and the junior trio of catcher Alexa Peterson, first baseman Kailee Cuico and infielder Courtney Ceo.
Five of those players were also All-Pac-12 honorees, while center fielder Janie Takeda was an All-Pac-12 Freshman Team choice.
The future shines even brighter for fourth-year head coach Mike White who welcomes an impressive newcomer class that featured four players on the ESPN.com Top 100 list – third-most nationally.
That quartet included utility player Koral Costa (San Pedro, Calif.), pitcher Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.), catcher Janelle Lindvall (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) and infielder Danica Mercado (Temecula, Calif.).
2013 Schedule Breakdown
Opponents - Returning NCAA Qualifiers (# of games in ())
NCAA Tournament Returnee Opponents (games=32)
World Series Advancers (Arizona State (3), California (3), LSU, Oklahoma)
Super Regional Advancers (Arizona (3), Michigan, Washington (3))
Regional Finalists (Florida, Oregon State (3), San Diego State (2), Stanford (3))
NCAA Qualifiers (Hawai’i, Long Beach State, Long Island, Portland State (2), UCLA (3))
Other Teams on 2013 Schedule (# of games=24)
Cal State Fullerton
New Mexico (2)
San Jose State
Stephen F. Austin
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