EUGENE, Ore. - The No. 1 ranked Oregon softball team closes out the regular season this week with a three-game Pac-12 series at No. 9 ranked Arizona.
All three games in the series will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.
#1 OREGON DUCKS (47-6-1, 18-2-1 Pac-12, First)
Team BA: .345 | Team ERA: 1.73 | Runs Scored: 369 | Runs Allowed: 122
Recently: Oregon went 1-1-1 against No. 3 Arizona State in Eugene last weekend
National Rankings: No. 1 in both the NFCA and USA Softball polls
All-Times Series Record: Arizona leads, 80-21 (Oregon has won seven of last nine)
Last Meeting: No. 6 Oregon no-hit No. 17 Arizona, 9-0 (April 14, 2013 in Eugene)
Notable: Oregon is ranked No. 1 for the fifth straight week. The Ducks enter the Arizona series with a 1.5 game lead on UCLA in the Pac-12 standings. The Ducks have not lost a Pac-12 series all season, but did tie for the first time against No. 3 Arizona State last weekend, losing the first, winning the second and then getting a 2-2 game called after the sixth due to rain for a tie. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 with a 1.73 team ERA. Oregon features two of the top-10 players in the nation, as 3B Courtney Ceo and LHP Cheridan Hawkins both were named top-10 finalists for the USA Softball player of the year award on Wednesday.
#9 ARIZONA WILDCATS (40-11, 13-8 Pac-12, Fourth)
Team BA: .357 | Team ERA: 2.65 | Runs Scored: 397 | Runs Allowed: 138
Recently: Arizona dropped 2-of-3 at Washington last weekend.
National Rankings: No. 9 in both the NFCA and USA Softball polls
Head Coach: Mike Candrea (29th Season)
Notable: The No. 9 ranked Wildcats are the top hitting team in the Pac-12, with a .357 team batting average, while Oregon is second with a .345 team batting average. In addition to hitting, the series also pits the top-2 scoring teams in the Pac-12, as Arizona has scored 397 runs while the Ducks have crossed the palte 369 times. Arizona is the top home run hitting team in the nation, averaging 1.86 homers per game, while the Ducks are 30th in the category, averaging 1.06 home runs per contest. Kelsey Rodriguez, Hallie Wilson and Kellie Fox are all hitting better than .400 while Estela Pinon’s 2.02 ERA leads the team.
PAC-12 TITLE RACE
Entering the final weekend of Pac-12 play, the Ducks are 1.5 games up on second-place UCLA. Only the Ducks and Bruins remain in contention, as ASU - at 14 league wins - can’t catch UO’s 18 league wins. The magic number for the Ducks is two, as Oregon needs any combination of two wins, a win and a UCLA loss or two UCLA wins to clinch its second straight Pac-12 title. For UCLA to jump Oregon, the Bruins need to win two more games at Arizona State than Oregon does at Arizona. The Ducks won their first Pac-12 title in program history last season.
The NCAA selection show to announce this year’s softball tournament bracket is on ESPNU at 7 p.m. PT.
Oregon played to a 1-1-1 draw with No. 3 Arizona State in a three-game Pac-12 series. The No. 1 Ducks dropped the first game, 4-2, before rebounding with a 12-2 run-rule win in six innings in the second game. The rubber match was called after six innings due to rain with a 2-2 score.
RUN-RULING ARIZONA STATE
Oregon’s 12-2 win in six innings against No. 3 Arizona State on May 3 was the first time any opponent had run-ruled the Sun Devils since the 2010 season. The 12 runs scored were the second most ever by an Oregon team against ASU. Oregon has run-ruled three top-5 teams this season, with an 8-0 win in five innings over then-No. 5 Washington on Mar. 29, a 12-4 win in five innings versus then-No. 1 UCLA on April 5 and now a 12-2 win in six innings over No. 3 ASU on May 3.
OREGON HOLDS ON TO TOP SPOT
Oregon is the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in both top-25 polls for the fifth straight week. After taking 2-of-3 from previous No. 1 UCLA, the Ducks took the cat bird seat on April 8 and haven’t look back. Before this season, Oregon’s best ranking was No. 2 near the end of the regular season last year. The Ducks climbed to No. 2 this year on three occasions before jumping to No. 1. The Ducks started the season ranked No. 8 in both polls. Under head coach Mike White, the Ducks have been ranked for 73 straight weeks in the USA Softball poll and 66 weeks in a row in the NFCA poll.
BACK-TO-BACK NO HITTERS VS. ARIZONA
Cheridan Hawkins posted the first no-hitter of her young career against Arizona in the Ducks’ 8-0 game two win over Arizona last year before Jessica Moore followed suit with her own no-hitter in the series finale the next day. Hawkins struck out 11 in the five inning run-ruled shortened game with a walk and two hit batters.
AGAINST ARIZONA LAST YEAR
Oregon swept Arizona in a three-game series last year at Howe Field, with a pair of no-hitters to cap the series. Oregon claimed the first game, 5-3, before posting back-to-back no-hitters, 8-0 in five innings in the second game and 9-0 in five innings in the third game. The Ducks outscored the Wildcats, 22-3, in the series and hit .375 as a team while holding UA to a .150 team batting average. C/OF Alexa Peterson hit a pair of home runs while her and 1B Kailee Cuico each drove in a team-high five runs.
HAWKINS NEW SEASON STRIKEOUT LEADER
Cheridan Hawkins broke the Oregon single-season strikeout record on May 2 when she eclipsed Jessica Moore’s previous mark of 256, set in 2012. Hawkins needed five more strikeouts going into the first game of the ASU series but the sophomore rang up 10 Sun Devils. Hawkins currently ranks fourth in the UO career history with 463 strikeouts through her first two seasons. Moore holds that record still, with 915 over four years.