EUGENE, Ore. - The No. 2 ranked Oregon softball team will compete in its final early season tournament of the year this week when the Ducks head to the Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu.
In a true tournament, the Ducks (18-2) will meet BYU at 6 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Valparaiso at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday and then James Madison at 6:30 p.m. PT and host Hawai'i at 9 p.m. PT on Friday.
The top four teams will be seeded and play a semifinal on Saturday afternoon with a championship game coming later in the day.
Live stats for each game will be available on GoDucks.com.
#2 OREGON DUCKS (18-2)
Last Weekend: UO had last weekend off after going 4-1 at the Citrus Classic (Orlando)
Notable: The Ducks dropped their season-opener before running off a 15-game winning streak, the longest in five seasons under head coach Mike White. The streak was snapped in an eight-inning loss to No. 1 ranked Florida, 2-1, in Orlando. Oregon pitchers have allowed four runs over the last seven games, with shutouts of Notre Dame and Auburn.
BYU COUGARS (9-13)
Last Weekend: BYU went 2-3 at the Louisville Slugger Classic (Stanford, Calif.)
All-Times Series Record: Ducks lead, 7-3
Last Meeting: No. 3 ranked Oregon defeated BYU, 5-2 (5/16/13)
Notable: Oregon has met BYU in NCAA Regionals in back-to-back years, going 3-0. McKenzie St. Clair has four home runs, while Ashley Thompson is hitting .367.
VALPARAISO CRUSADERS (4-14)
Last Weekend: Valpo went 1-4 at the Springhill Suites Invitational (Boise, Idaho)
All-Times Series Record: This is the first meeting between the two schools
Last Meeting: N/A
Notable: Valparaiso split a doubleheader with Weber State last weekend but lost to Boise State (twice) and Indiana. The Crusaders are 0-2 vs. ranked foes this year (ULL, Ariz).
JAMES MADISON DUKES (14-8)
Last Weekend: JMU went 3-0 at the Jack in the Box Spring Fling (Honolulu)
All-Times Series Record: The Ducks are undefeated, 2-0
Last Meeting: No. 10 ranked Oregon knocked of JMU, 12-1 (3/3/13)
Notable: James Madison is receiving votes in the NFCA top-25 poll. The Dukes shutout Hawai’i and Cal last weekend. Hannah Hayes is hitting a team-high .390.
HAWAI’I RAINBOW WAHINE (11-10)
Last Weekend: UH went 2-3 and its Jack in the Box Spring Fling, with a win over Cal.
All-Times Series Record: Ducks lead, 11-9
Last Meeting: No. 7 ranked Oregon lost to No. 20 Hawai’i, 6-5 (2/26/13)
Notable: Oregon’s loss to UH in the Easton Desert Classic (Las Vegas) last year snapped a seven-game winning streak over the Rainbow Wahine.
PEPSI RAINBOW WAHINE CLASSIC
The Ducks will play in a true tournament this week at the Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu. Oregon will meet BYU, Valparaiso, James Madison and host Hawai’i before potentially playing a semifinal and championship game on Saturday.
The Ducks had last weekend off after playing in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic from Feb. 28-March 2. Oregon went 4-1 at that event, including a 3-0 shutout over then No. 25 ranked Auburn. The Ducks saw their 15-game winning streak fall in a nailbiter to No. 1 ranked Florida, 2-1, in eight innings.
OREGON REMAINS TOP-5 IN BOTH POLLS
Oregon is ranked No. 2 in the NFCA poll for the second straight week, its highest in school history. The Ducks are also No. 4 in the USA Softball poll this week, jumping up one spot despite the off week. The Ducks started the season ranked No. 8 in both polls. Under head coach Mike White, the Ducks have been ranked for 65 straight weeks in the USA Softball poll and 58 weeks in a row in the NFCA poll.
HAWKINS EARNS NATIONAL, PAC-12 HONORS
After a strong weekend at the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla., Oregon pitcher Cheridan Hawkins was named both USA Softball National Player of the Week and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week on March 4. It was Hawkins’ first career national player of the week honor and her second Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week award this season. The sophomore was a great choice for both, as she posted three shutouts and just one unearned run allowed over four appearances last weekend. She improved to 10-2 on the young season after shutting down No. 25 ranked Auburn, Bradley and Illinois State. Against Auburn on the first day of the tournament, Hawkins struck out 12 while giving up just three hits in a shutout performance. She added another shutout against Bradley the next day, holding the Braves to three hits in seven innings while striking out 16 more batters. She did the same against the Redbirds to close out the Citrus Classic, fanning 16 hitters while surrendering just two hits. Her only blemish came against No. 1 ranked Florida, as Hawkins took the loss after coming in to spell starter Karissa Hovinga. Hawkins struck out five Gators in three innings and did not give up a hit, but a hit batter and a wild pitch with the international tiebreaker runner on second allowed Florida to win, 2-1, in eight innings. Hawkins struck out 48 batters in 24 innings with just eight hits and five walks allowed. She held opposing hitters to a .101 batting average and surrendered just one extra base hit.
DUCKS’ 15 GAME WINNING STREAK
Oregon’s 15-game winning streak this season (Feb. 7-Feb. 28) was the longest by the Ducks under fifth-year head coach Mike White. It was 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 18 games, Oregon pitchers have posted a 0.64 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 11 earned runs over the next 18 games (120 innings). Opponents have just 12 total extra base hits (seven doubles, one triple, four home runs) in the last 18 games.
DUCKS AGAINST THE TOP-5 & NO. 1
Against top-5 ranked opponents, Oregon is 8-23 under fifth-year head coach Mike White, including a 2-1 eight-inning loss to No. 1 ranked Florida 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 Kailee Cuico’s RBI grounder in the fourth scored Kelsey Chambers for the game-winner.
HAWKINS’ HOT STREAK
Over her last 71.1 innings pitched, Cheridan Hawkins has allowed just one earned run on 23 hits with 119 strikeouts. The sophomore left-hander has posted a no-hitter and six shutouts in 10 starts this year, with a 1.00 ERA. Hawkins is holding hitters to a .111 opponent batting average. She’s allowed just seven extra base hits (three doubles, no triples, four home runs) all season.
Oregon has outscored opponents 125-34 thus far in the season. The Ducks have run-ruled eight teams and have also gone 3-1 in extra innings games. The second inning has been Oregon’s most productive thus far, outscoring opponents 33-5.
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 .359 on the season with a Pac-12 leading five triples. Ceo, meanwhile, is hitting a team-best .500 this year. Takeda and Ceo have combined for six of the Ducks’ nine triples this season, plus seven doubles, 32 runs scored and 21 RBIs while going 15-of-18 on stolen base attempts. Takeda has hit leadoff and Ceo has hit second in all 20 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 one earned run over her last three starts, including a five innings of one-run ball against No. 1 ranked Florida. The junior has posted two complete games and is undefeated with a 7-0 record.