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Notes: Ranked Foes Await at Mary Nutter
Release Date: 02/19/2014
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EUGENE, Ore. - The No. 6 Oregon softball team will face its first ranked opponents of the season this weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.

The Ducks (9-1) have won nine straight games after dropping their season opener.

The Ducks are one of 35 teams taking part in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic this weekend. Oregon will battle No. 23 ranked LSU on Friday night, Fordam and Virginia on Saturday and No. 24 Notre Dame and UC Davis on Sunday morning.

#23 LOUISIANA STATE TIGERS (8-4) (Friday, 6 PM)
Last Weekend: LSU went 4-2 at its own Tiger Invitational
All-Times Series Record: Ducks lead, 1-0
Last Meeting: No. 10 Oregon defeated No. 11 LSU, 8-2 (3/1/13)
Notable: LSU has dropped both games it has played against top-25 opponents - No. 10 Texas in its season-opener and No. 18 South Alabama last weekend.

FORDHAM RAMS (5-3) (Saturday, 9:30 AM)
Last Weekend: The Rams posted a 3-2 record at the College of Charleston Classic
All-Times Series Record: Ducks lead, 2-0
Last Meeting: No. 11 Oregon defeated Fordham, 2-0 (5/21/11)
Notable: Fordham starting pitcher Michele Daubman sports a 3-2 record with a 2.40 ERA. She has allowed just eight earned runs in 30.0 innings pitched.

VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (1-7) (Saturday, 2:30 PM)
Last Weekend: The Cavs dropped all three games at Coastal Carolina Classic
All-Times Series Record: The series is tied, 1-1
Last Meeting: No. 18 ranked Oregon defeated Virginia, 6-2 (3/4/12)
Notable: Virginia has lost six straight games and was run ruled in four of them. Marcy Bowdren is hitting a team-high .438 with two home runes and five RBIs.

#24 NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (6-1) (Sunday, 9 AM)
Last Weekend: The Irish won all three games at the Jacksonville University Tournament
All-Times Series Record: Ducks lead, 3-2
Last Meeting: Oregon defeated Notre Dame, 4-1 (2/12/10)
Notable: Notre Dame has won five straight games, including a pair of victories over No. 23 ranked Louisville last weekend. Starter Allie Rhodes is 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA. 

UC DAVIS AGGIES (4-9) (Sunday, 11:30 AM)
Last Weekend: The Aggies went 2-3 at the Stacy Winsburg Memorial (Los Angeles).
All-Times Series Record: Ducks lead, 6-0
Last Meeting: Oregon defeated UC Davis, 3-0, in eight innings (3/1/09)
Notable: UC Davis defeated Western Kentucky and Robert Morris last weekend after knocking off rival Sacramento State on Feb. 12. UCD is 0-3 against ranked teams.

The Ducks went a perfect 5-0 at UNLV’s Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas. Oregon outscored its opponents 41-8 over the tournament, which included three run-rule victories. LHP Cheridan Hawkins shined for the Ducks, breaking her own school record with 18 strikeouts in a 10-inning win over UNLV. She followed up that performance with her third career no-hitter and the 22nd in program history in a 9-0 six-inning win over Ohio State. The Ducks also defeated Toledo, 11-2, Chattanooga, 6-4, and Cal State Northridge, 12-1.

Oregon is ranked No. 6 in the NFCA poll and No. 8 in the USA Softball poll this week. The Ducks started the season ranked No. 8 in both polls, but after a 4-1 start at the season-opening Kajikawa Classic, Oregon dropped to No. 10. But after lasts weekend’s perfect 5-0 record, the Ducks are back on the rise. Under head coach Mike White, the Ducks have been ranked for 62 straight weeks in the USA Softball poll and 55 weeks in a row in the NFCA poll.

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.

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.

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.

Courtney Ceo has a hit in 18 of her last 24 at-bats entering Friday night’s game against No. 23 ranked LSU. The senior third baseman is hitting .594 on the season, with a .938 slugging percentage. Ceo hit a grand slam in the Ducks’ 6-4 win over Chattanooga on Feb. 15 and also homered against Ohio State in the later game that day.

After giving up 14 earned runs on 16 hits, including five home runs, on the first day of the season, Oregon’s pitching has found its groove. Over the last eight games, Oregon’s pitching staff has a combined 0.71 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 four earned runs over the next eight games (51 innings). Opponents have just three total extra base hits in the last eight games.

While she has definitely shined at the plate, Courtney Ceo has made opposing pitchers pay even more with seven stolen bases on eight 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 19 stolen bases while opponents have just five.

Senior All-America catcher Alexa Peterson has bounced around the diamond this season, showing her versatility. She has seen time in right field, at catcher and at designated player. She is hitting .400 this season with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs.

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 three home runs this year with two doubles and nine RBIs. In addition to slugging .724, Lindvall has a .457 on-base percentage with five walks, a hit by pitch and just one strikeout.

Freshman shortstop Nikki Udria has started all 10 games to start the season, hitting .333 with a team-high six walks. Udria also ranks second on the team in 11 RBIs, with a triple and her first collegiate home run against Toldeo on Feb. 14. In the first weekend of the season, she earned three walks against Appalachian State on Feb. 8 then ended the game with a two-run single in the sixth that run ruled the Mountaineers.

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