The Arizona State Sun Devils dropped the weekend series to UCLA, yet only fell one spot with Arizona doing the same, dropping its series to Washington. Here’s how the Pac-12 fared in the latest release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll:
No. 1 Oregon (49-7-1, 20-3-1 Pac-12)
Oregon traveled to Tucson to take on the No. 9 Wildcats and managed two wins in a stadium where no visiting team had won this season. Sophomore ace Cheridan Hawkins went the distance on Thursday and worked a run-rule victory on Saturday. Hawkins picked up her 29th and 30th wins while striking out 17 batters while only walking three. Oregon finished the regular season as the top-ranked team for the sixth consecutive week and was named the overall No. 1 seed for the NCAA softball championships.
Catcher Janelle Lindvall paced the Ducks’ offense with 5-of-9 hitting with six RBI, including a home run on Thursday and a double in the finale. Center fielder Koral Costa also knocked a two-run HR in Saturday’s 14-3 slufgest. Oregon hosts Albany, Utah Valley and Wisconsin in the regional round this weekend.
No. 2 UCLA (48-6, 19-5 Pac-12)
No. 2 UCLA also completed the regular season in Arizona, with the Bruins visiting Tempe and Arizona State. After suffering a 2-0 shutout Thursday night, junior pitcher Ally Carda revived UCLA with wins on Friday and Saturday. Carda, Thursday night’s starter, won both games in relief, taking over for Paige McDuffee and Jessica Hall. Carda fanned 21 Sun Devils in 17.2 innings pitched.
The National Player of the Year candidate also knocked a two-run HR in Friday night’s extra-inning matchup, finishing 2-of-4 with three RBI and four runs scored. The monster effort from Carda earned her the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week nod, her third of the season.
The Bruins are the NCAA championship’s No. 3 national seed and host Long Beach State, Notre Dame and Southern Utah in the regional round.
No. 4 Arizona State (44-10-1, 15-7-1 Pac-12)
The Sun Devils have faced the top two teams in the country the past two weeks, finishing with an admirable 2-3-1 record against the cream of the nation’s crop. Senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo pitched a two-hit masterpiece Thursday night, shutting out the Bruins for the first time, 2-0. The first-inning home run by catcher Amber Freeman, a team-tying 11th on the season, brought the only scoring in the pitchers’ duel.
Friday night’s game also went down to the wire with the Sun Devils taking a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning, only to allow the Bruins back into the game in the seventh inning and ultimately lose in the ninth. Senior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle finished the weekend with 3-of-7 hitting with three RBI including a two-run HR on Saturday. Arizona State was named the No. 9 national seed and hosts No. 13 Michigan along with San Diego State and Dartmouth in the NCAA regionals this weekend.
No. 8 Washington (33-13, 13-9 Pac-12)
Washington stayed put at the No. 8 spot despite making quick work of the California Golden Bears over the weekend. Senior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby picked up her 12th win on Thursday and pitched a masterful performance on Saturday, giving up only one hit in a 14-0 run-rule victory. Fellow senior Bryana Walker picked up the save on Thursday night and her 18th win on Friday.
The Huskies’ bats were electric in Berkeley, outscoring the Bears 27-4. Kylee Lahners paced UW with five RBI, including a double on Saturday and two home runs. Not to be outdone, senior first baseman Hooch Fagaly also knocked homers on Friday and Saturday and finished the weekend 4-of-9 with four RBI and three runs scored. The 12-seeded Huskies host BYU, Iona and Northwestern in the regional round.
No. 10 Arizona (40-11, 13-8 Pac-12)
Arizona dropped back-to-back series for the first time this season after losing two of three to the No. 1 Ducks last weekend. The Wildcats suffered their first loss at home on Thursday night and their second mercy-rule loss of the season on Saturday – all in the final week of the season. Under the bright Friday night lights and in front of 2,566 fans, Arizona erupted for 11 runs, including a six-run first inning over Oregon’s Karissa Hovinga, who suffered only her second loss of the season.
Chelsea Goodacre, Katiyana Mauga and Kelsey Rodriguez all connected with long balls on Friday, while Estela Pinon earned her 17th win on the year and Shelby Babcock collected her second save. Rodriguez finished the weekend with a double, two homers and three RBI while Goodacre hit 5-of-8, including two doubles and a home run. Arizona received the No. 11 national seed and hosts No. 23 LSU along with Louisville and Boston University this weekend in the regionals.