OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Janie Takeda tallied a pair of RBIs and the No. 1 seeded Oregon softball team defeated No. 7 seed Oklahoma, 4-2, on Saturday night to advance in the Women’s College World Series.
The Ducks (56-8-1) will meet No. 2 seed Alabama on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PT on ESPN. Oregon will need to beat the Tide twice to move on, as Alabama enters the game unbeaten in the WCWS thus far. The winner of the Oregon and Alabama matchup will meet the winner between Florida and Baylor in the WCWS best-of-three championship series.
The Ducks posted four runs on seven hits with one error while the Sooners tallied two runs on six hits with no errors. Cheridan Hawkins (35-5) picked up the win after allowing two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, with four walks and five strikeouts. Karissa Hovinga recorded two outs to start the seventh inning before Hawkins re-entered to get a fielder’s choice for the final out.
"Congratulations to the Ducks for playing a hard fought game," said Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso. "They're a tough team. They keep pressure on you with the pitching staff. They're just a very complete team."
Hawkins retired the side in order in the first inning but had to fight out of jams in the second and third. The sophomore walked a pair with one out in the second, but struck out the next two batters. With one out in the third, Oklahoma put two runners on after an error and a walk, but Hawkins got a ground ball out and a strikeout to escape.
Oklahoma pitcher Shelby Pendley was making just her second career start but handled the Ducks in the first and second innings. But Oregon broke through in the third inning with three runs.
Oklahoma pulled Pendley for Kelsey Stevens, a Stanford transfer who threw a complete game in the first game of the day for the Sooners, a 3-1 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. On the third pitch she saw from Stevens, Kailee Cuico roped a liner off the shortstop for a double, scoring both Gillespie and Takeda.
Despite the early trouble for Hawkins, Oklahoma didn’t get its first hit of the game until the fourth inning, with a leadoff single by third baseman Georgia Casey. Oklahoma eventually scored in the fourth, on an RBI single by shortstop Jessica Vest.
Meanwhile, Oregon was retired in order by Stevens in the fourth and fifth innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Oklahoma made it a one-run lead for Oregon with a solo home run. Pendley, who moved to third after being pulled from the circle, helped her own cause with a homer to right.
Takeda drove in an insurance run for the Ducks in the top of the seventh, plating Udria after the shortstop had reached on a one-out double.
"I came up and told myself to see the ball," Takeda said about her seventh inning at-bat. "It was an exciting moment, and I was glad that I could come up clutch for my team."
NOTES: Courtney Ceo is the 25th player in NCAA history to reach 102 hits in a single season. … Oregon’s two wins in the WCWS this year doubles the amount of wins the Ducks had in two previous trips. … The first ranked team Hawkins faced in her career was Oklahoma and Hawkins took the loss in that matchup after allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on six hits and four walks in four innings.