Pac-12 Softball Once Again Claims 3 of Top 5 Spots

Cheridan HawkinsThe Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins kept to their winning ways with sweeps over California and Oregon State last weekend. The teams kept the top spots in the latest USA Today/NFCA Poll released on April 22 with Arizona State joining the top five after splitting its series in Seattle.

No. 1 Oregon (40-5, 14-1 Pac-12)

 

Oregon had little problem defending their unanimous No. 1 ranking after sweeping California (22-20, 4-9 Pac-12) over the weekend. The Ducks exploded for 31 runs in only 17 innings played. Thursday’s and Friday’s games were run-rule victories while the Ducks needed the full seven innings to complete the sweep.

Sophomore pitcher Cheridan Hawkins picked up two victories to advance her record to 24-3 and senior right fielder Alexa Peterson hit 3-of-7 with six RBI and three runs scored. The highlight of the weekend was Friday’s 15-run fourth inning in which three players homered including a grand slam from Sammie Puentes.

The Ducks host Portland State on Tuesday night and travel to Stanford this weekend.

No. 2 UCLA (41-4, 12-3 Pac-12)

 

The No.2 Bruins hosted Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, Oregon State (13-26, 3-13 Pac-12) over the weekend and then traveled for a doubleheader at Long Beach State on Monday. UCLA breezed through its opponents and have won eight straight since dropping the series to Oregon. Bruins’ senior pitcher Jessica Hall and junior catcher Stephany LaRosa swept the Pac-12 Players of the Week awards announced on Monday.

Hall won all three games that she pitched in starting on Tuesday and Friday and in relief on Saturday. Hall fanned 21 batters in 15 innings including 11 against CS Northridge. LaRosa was a tour de force at the plate hitting 6-of-11 in four games including a pair of home runs, eight RBI and four runs scored. The Bruins travel to Berkeley to take on Cal this weekend.

No. 5 Arizona State (39-7, 13-4 Pac-12)

Freeman and Teammates

Freeman and Teammates

The Sun Devils traveled to Seattle over the weekend and were met with rain, a lot of it. The Thursday game was cancelled and a doubleheader on Friday was scheduled. The first game was an epic pitchers’ duel between Arizona State senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo and the Huskies’ Kaitlin Inglesby.

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead into the top of the seventh inning on an Inglesby home run in the fourth inning. Amber Freeman and Haley Steele had the only two hits of the game for Arizona State—and they were both home runs, giving the Devils a narrow 3-1 victory.

The second game saw the Devils’ bats wake up with 14 hits including Haley Steele’s 4-of-5 performance. Unfortunately, Arizona State also left 15 runners on base including the bases loaded for three consecutive innings.

The Devils looked to the seventh inning to once again play spoiler taking a 2-1 lead and needing only three outs to secure the win. It was Washington, however, that spoiled the Devils’ sweep when it scored once in the seventh and won in the 10th inning. Saturday’s game was delayed after an inning was played and was cancelled altogether.

No. 10 Arizona (34-9, 9-6 Pac-12)

 

Arizona was idle over the weekend but maintained its No. 10 ranking. The Wildcats face New Mexico State in a doubleheader on Wednesday and Utah (20-20, 5-12 Pac-12) this weekend in Tucson.

No. 11 Washington (25-12, 5-8 Pac-12)

Inglesby

The Huskies split the series with Arizona State over the weekend and maintained its’ current ranking at the No. 11 spot.

The Huskies have won four of its past six games and senior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby had a perfect game in the first game of the double dip heading into the seventh inning.

Inglesby looked to do it all by retiring the first 18 batters she faced as well as scoring the only run on a solo home run in the fourth inning. Senior first baseman Hooch Fagaly secured the series split in the second game with a walk-off lead-off solo home run in the 10th inning.

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