LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Oregon softball team belted four home runs as the Ducks won for the ninth straight time, 12-1, over Cal State Northridge in five innings on Sunday in the final game of the Easton Desert Classic.
The Ducks (9-1) run ruled three teams in their five games this weekend at the tournament hosted by UNLV. Overall, the Ducks have run ruled five teams in 10 total games.
"We saw the ball very well today," said head coach Mike White. "We hit a bunch of opposite field home runs and extra base hits today. We were patient and had a lot of people contribute."
Another deep ball, this time by Kailee Cuico, gave the Ducks a 4-0 lead with one out in the third inning. The Ducks weren't done, however. On a bases loaded grounder by Nikki Udria, Cal State Northridge was able to get one out at home, but a throwing error by the catcher allowed three runs to score as the ball sailed into right field.
Oregon scored four runs in the third, but one-upped that mark with five runs in the fourth.
Jamie Rae Sullivan started the fourth with a solo homer to center. After Stevie Jo Knapp and Alexas Peterson reached, Cuico tripled down the right field line to score both runners. A sacrifice fly by Jasmine Smithson-Willett scored Cuico from third. After a line out to the shortstop for the second out of the inning, Koral Costa smashed a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right.
Over the final two games of the weekend, Cuico went 4-for-6 with a double, triple, two home runs and four RBIs. After ending the first tournament of the season with a .083 batting average, Cuico has bumped that number up to .250 as of today.
"She's getting a lot more confidence," White added. "She's made a couple adjustments and is doing a great job driving pitches."
While the offense provided the fireworks, starting pitcher Karissa Hovinga was outstanding as she allowed just one run on three hits in four innings with no walks and two strikeouts.
"Karissa pitched well again and was ahead of pretty much every batter she faced," White said.
Hovinga improved to 4-0 on the year with the win. Smithson-Willett picthed a one-hit fifth inning to end the game.
Oregon will head to a warmer climate once again next weekend as the Ducks will compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Oregon opens the tournament with No. 21 ranked LSU on Friday. The Tigers will be the first ranked opponent for the Ducks this season. Oregon will also meet Notre Dame, which is receiving votes in the NFCA top-25 poll, along with Virginia, Fordham and UC Davis.
"We have some things we need to work on, especially defensively," White said. "We will straighten those things out and keep working on our pitching with a difficult set of opponents next weekend."