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Notes: No. 3 Ducks Host No. 1 UCLA
Release Date: 04/02/2014
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EUGENE, Ore. - The No. 3 ranked Oregon softball team plays host to No. 1 ranked UCLA at Howe Field this weekend in a Pac-12 Conference series starting Friday.

The Ducks and Bruins will meet at 3 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday with all three games televised live on Pac-12 Networks.

Fans are encouraged to wear yellow to the game on Friday and white to the game on Saturday. Fans wearing those colors can purchase $3 tickets at the gate. Kids 12-and-under can buy $2 tickets on Sunday.

Fans can call the Oregon softball rain delay number at 541-346-6148 to find out if a game has been pushed back or rescheduled due to weather. Pre-purchased tickets for games that are rained out can be exchanged for any other regular season game.

#3 OREGON DUCKS (32-4, 6-0 Pac-12)
Team BA: .336  |  Team ERA: 1.55  |  Runs Scored: 224  |  Runs Allowed: 75
Recently: UO swept then No. 5 UW and took both in a DH with UCSB on Tuesday.
National Rankings: No. 3 in both the NFCA and USA Softball polls
All-Times UCLA Series Record: UCLA leads, 73-18 (Ducks have won 5 of last 7)
Last Meeting: No. 4 Oregon defeated No. 16 UCLA, 7-5 (April 28, 2013)
Notable: First baseman Kailee Cuico, already Oregon’s all-time home run leader with 41, is nearing the career RBIs record as well, as she needs just one more to match Samantha Pappas’ UO record of 155. Third baseman Courtney Ceo is the Ducks’ all-time runs scored leader, breaking the previous record of 154 last weekend against Washington. UCLA enters with one of the best pitching staffs in the nation, but the Ducks aren’t too shabby. Oregon’s 1.55 team ERA ranks ninth in the nation while Cheridan Hawkins’ 0.98 ERA ranks 11th in the NCAA. Oregon has the advantage in hitting, with a .336 batting average versus a .325 for the Bruins.

#1 UCLA BRUINS (33-2, 8-1 Pac-12)
Team BA: .325  |  Team ERA: 0.91  |  Runs Scored: 216  |  Runs Allowed: 58
Recently: UCLA swept Utah at home, allowing just four total runs in three games.
National Rankings: No. 1 in both the NFCA and the USA Softball polls
Head Coach: Kelly Inouye-Perez (Eighth Season)
Notable: This weekend’s matchup not only pits two top-5 teams nationally, but the top two teams in the Pac-12 as well. Oregon enters the weekend in first place in the conference standings (6-0) while UCLA is second (8-1).  The Bruins enter the weekend with the second-best team ERA in the nation at 0.91. Ace Ally Carda’s 0.79 ERA is tied for fifth in the nation while fellow hurler Jessica Hall’s 0.92 ERA is the ninth best in the country. UCLA’s only two losses this season came to then-No. 5 Michigan at home on March 5 and on the road at then-No. 5 Washington on March 23. The Bruins enter on a six-game winning streak.

Oregon is ranked No. 3 in the NFCA poll and No. 3 in the USA Softball poll after sweeping Washington over the weekend. The Ducks started the season ranked No. 8 in both polls. Under head coach Mike White, the Ducks have been ranked for 68 straight weeks in the USA Softball poll and 61 weeks in a row in the NFCA poll.

Oregon finally played some home games this week, going 5-0 to start its first homestand of the year. Oregon was very successful at home last season and the trend is continuing this year. Last year the Ducks went 20-2 at Howe Field, with both losses coming to No. 14 ranked Nebraska in the super regionals. Oregon swept each Pac-12 team it played at home last season, going 3-0 against No. 15 Stanford, 3-0 against Utah, 3-0 against No. 17 Arizona and 3-0 against Oregon State. The Ducks went 7-5 on the road in conference play a year ago.

Oregon went 2-1 at No. 16 ranked UCLA last season, with a 9-6 win in game one and a 7-5 win in game three.  UCLA won the second game, 7-5. In the first game, UCLA chased Oregon starter Jessica Moore in the third inning after she allowed six runs, but Karissa Hovinga and Cheridan Hawkins tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless relief as the Ducks scored six runs over the last two innings to win. Janelle Lindvall and Koral Costa each homered in the rally. Costa homered and drove in three runs in the Ducks’ 7-5 loss in the second game. In the third game, Janie Takeda had three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs as the Ducks used four runs in the seventh inning to win, 7-5.

The Ducks played their first homes games of the season over the last week, sweeping then-No. 5 ranked Washington last weekend and taking both games of a doubleheader with UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday. Oregon went a perfect 16-0 at home in the regular season last year (20-2 overall, both losses in postseason).

After the Ducks swept No. 5 ranked Washington over the weekend, Oregon LHP Cheridan Hawkins was named NFCA National Player of the Week and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. Hawkins guided the Ducks to a series sweep of the Huskies with two shutouts and three wins in the series. Hawkins posted a 0.95 ERA and 11 strikeouts over 14.2 innings of work. The sophomore tossed back-to-back shutouts in Saturday’s doubleheader, throwing all 12 innings of the two games. She also threw 2.2 frames of relief in Sunday’s win, as she picked up the victory after a walk-off homer by Kailee Cuico. It was Hawkins’ second Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor and second national award, as she was named USA Softball Player of the Week on March 4 after dominating at the Citrus Classic.

Against top-5 ranked opponents, Oregon is 11-23 under fifth-year head coach Mike White, including a 2-1 eight-inning loss to No. 1 ranked Florida and a sweep of No. 5 ranked Washington this season. Last year Oregon went 3-4 against top-5 foes, its best mark of White’s tenure. Against No. 1 ranked teams, Oregon is 2-8 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 1B Kailee Cuico’s RBI grounder in the fourth scored Kelsey Chambers for the eventual game-winner.

Oregon has hit at least one home run in 10 straight games, going back to the March 22 Pac-12 opener at Utah. The Ducks have 15 total home runs in that 10-game span. 1B Kailee Cuico has five of those bombs.

Oregon’s 32-4 start is the best in head coach Mike White’s five seasons with the team. It is the best start overall since the Ducks started the 2007 season with a 36-4 record.

With her 38th career home run on March 25 against Southern Utah, 1B Kailee Cuico passed by Kaylan Howard, Samantha Pappas and Andrea Vidlund for first in the program record books. Cuico had seven home runs as a freshman, 12 as a sophomore, 14 as a junior and now a team-high eight in her senior season for 41 total.

1B Kailee Cuico already owns the Oregon career home run record and is fast approaching the career RBI record as well. With 154 career RBIs, Cuico needs just one more to match Sam Pappas’ UO record of 155. Cuico drove in 28 as a freshman, 54 as a sophomore, 43 as a junior and now has 29 RBIs as a senior for 154 total RBIs. Cuico has three games this season with 5-or-more RBIs, including the Ducks most recent game when she had five RBIs (one on a single, four on a grand slam) in a 10-4 win over UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday.

With her second of two runs scored in the first game of a doubleheader against Washington on March 29, Courtney Ceo jumped Jill Robinson in the UO record books with a school record 155th run scored. Ceo had  41 runs as a freshman, 34 as a sophomore, 54 as a junior and now 31 as a senior for 160 total. She had a season-high three at Utah on March 23.


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