EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon softball team will put its 14-game winning streak on the line this weekend against No. 1 Florida at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla.
The Ducks (14-1) will meet No. 25 Auburn at 8 a.m. PT on Friday before battling No. 1 Florida at 12:30 p.m. PT. Both games will be streamed on ESPN3.com.
On Saturday, Oregon will play Bradley at 10:15 a.m. PT and Maryland at 2:45 p.m. PT before closing out the tournament at 9 a.m. PT against Illinois State on Sunday.
*Full set of PDF game notes available below the photo.
DIAMOND 9 CITRUS CLASSIC
The Ducks are one of 26 teams competing this weekend in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The No. 4 ranked Ducks will play No. 25 Auburn and No. 1 Florida in ESPN3.com broadcasted games on Friday before meeting Bradley and Maryland Saturday and Illinois State on Sunday.
The Ducks went a perfect 5-0 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Oregon faced a ranked opponent for the first time on the year when the Ducks knocked off No. 23 ranked LSU, 4-1, in the tournament opener on Feb. 21. UO then defeated Fordham, 3-2, and Virginia, 12-3, on Feb. 22. Oregon outlasted No. 23 Notre Dame, 2-0, in nine-innings on Sunday before ending the event with an 8-0 win over UC Davis. All-in-all, the Ducks outscored their opponents, 29-6 over the five games last weekend and posted two shutouts.
OREGON BUMPED UP IN BOTH POLLS
Oregon is ranked No. 4 in the NFCA poll and No. 6 in the USA Softball poll this week. The Ducks started the season ranked No. 8 in both polls. Under head coach Mike White, the Ducks have been ranked for 63 straight weeks in the USA Softball poll and 56 weeks in a row in the NFCA poll.
DUCKS PUSH WINNING STREAK TO 14 GAMES
Oregon’s current 14-game winning streak is the longest by the Ducks under fifth-year head coach Mike White. It’s the longest for the program since 2007 (18 games).
PITCHING FINDS FORM
After giving up 14 earned runs on 16 hits, including five home runs, over two games on the first day of the season, Oregon’s pitching has really found its groove. Over the last 13 games, Oregon pitchers have posted a 0.81 team ERA. The Ducks lost their season-opener, 6-4, to Cal Poly as the Mustangs hit four home runs. In the next game, a 10-9, eight-inning win over Fresno State, the Bulldogs had nine hits, including another homer. But since that day, Oregon’s pitching has allowed just 10 earned runs over the next 13 games (86 innings). Opponents have just nine total extra base hits (doubles, triples, home runs) in the last 13 games.
DUCKS AGAINST THE TOP-5 & NO. 1
Against top-5 ranked opponents, Oregon is 8-22 under fifth-year head coach Mike White. Last year Oregon went 3-4 against top-5 foes, its best mark of White’s tenure. Against No. 1 ranked teams, Oregon is 2-7 under White, with its last win over a No. 1 ranked team coming on April 21, 2012, a 1-0 win over California in Eugene. Then-sophomore Kailee Cuico’s RBI grounder in the fourth scored Kelsey Chambers for the game-winner.
HAWKINS’ HOT STREAK
Over her last 47.1 innings pitched, Cheridan Hawkins has allowed just one run on 15 hits with 70 strikeouts. The sophomore left-hander has posted a no-hitter and three shutouts in seven starts this year, with a 1.45 ERA. Hawkins is holding hitters to a .115 opponent batting average.
Oregon has outscored opponents 107-30 thus far in the season. The Ducks have run-ruled seven teams and have also gone 3-0 in extra innings games. The second inning has been Oregon’s most productive thus far, outscoring opponents 27-5.
THE TOP OF THE LINEUP
Oregon leadoff hitter Janie Takeda and No. 2 hitter Courtney Ceo form arguably the top 1-2 punch in the nation. Takeda is hitting .360 on the season after going 8-for-16 (.500) last weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic. Ceo, meanwhile, is hitting a team-best .543 this year after going 6-for-14 (.429) last weekend. Takeda and Ceo have combined for six of the Ducks’ nine triples this season, plus six doubles, 27 runs scored and 21 RBIs while going 13-of-14 on stolen base attempts. Takeda has hit leadoff and Ceo has hit second in all 15 of Oregon’s games.
HOVINGA’S BEEN HELPFUL
While Cheridan Hawkins is considered Oregon’s ace, RHP Karissa Hovinga has been nearly as good. The Canadian National team hurler has allowed just five earned runs over her last six starts. The junior has posted shutouts against Appalachian State and UC Davis.
HAWKINS BREAKS UO STRIKEOUT RECORD
LHP Cheridan Hawkins broke her own school record when the sophomore posted 18 strikeouts in the Ducks’ 10-inning, 3-1, win at UNLV on Feb. 14. She tied her previous school record of 17, set last season against Seattle U, against the second to last UNLV batter. With one more out needed to finish the game in the 10th inning, Hawkins broke the record with a swinging strikeout on a 2-2 count to seal the win.
HAWKINS POSTS THIRD NO-HITTER
If her 18 strikeout performance wasn’t impressive enough, LHP Cheridan Hawkins out-did herself with the program’s 22nd no-hitter in a 9-0 win over Ohio State on Feb. 15. Hawkins did not allow a hit or issue a walk, with the only baserunner of the game coming on a fielding error in the fifth inning. Hawkins’ first two career no-hitters were also perfect games, coming against then No. 17 ranked Arizona (4/13/13) and Seattle U (5/1/13). Those are the only two perfect games in Oregon history.
CEO TIES SCHOOL HITS RECORD
Third baseman Courtney Ceo tied the Oregon single-game record when she smacked five hits against N.C. State on Feb. 8 at the Kajikawa Classic. Ceo’s 5-for-5 performance tied Lynsey Haji, who was in sole possession of the record when she tallied five hits against Georgia on Feb. 18, 2003.
CEO PUTS THE PRESSURE ON
While she has definitely shined at the plate, Courtney Ceo has made opposing pitchers pay even more with eight stolen bases on 11 attempts. On Feb. 9 against Boise State, Ceo went 3-for-3 with three singles against the Broncos, but turned each single into a double with three stolen bases. Overall, the Ducks have 28 stolen bases this season on 26 attempts, while opponents are 6-for-6.
LINDVALL GOES YARD
One of the reasons head coach Mike White has been able to use Alexa Peterson in multiple positions is the presence of catcher Janelle Lindvall. The sophomore has a team-high four home runs this year with three doubles and 12 RBIs. In addition to slugging .690, Lindvall has a .451 on-base percentage with eight walks, a hit by pitch and just one strikeout.
UDRIA LOCKING DOWN SHORTSTOP JOB
Freshman shortstop Nikki Udria has started 14 of the Ducks’ 15 games this season. In her first collegiate action, the 5-foot-10 Mater Dei HS grad is hitting .333 and is tied for the team-lead with 14 RBIs. Udria’s patience at the plate is uncommon for a freshman, as she has three walks. She drew three of those walks in one game against Appalachain State on Feb. 8. She hit her first career homer against Toledo on Valentine’s Day.
After this weekend’s Diamond 9 Citrus Classic, the Ducks will have a weekend off before heading to Hawaii for the Rainbow Wahine Classic from March 12 through March 15.