Duck softball wins 9-3 to claim series over Cal

Duck softball wins 9-3 to claim series over Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 9 University of Oregon softball team (33-7, 10-2) claimed its fourth series of the season Sunday with a convincing 9-3 win at No. 4 California (30-6, 6-3).

Notching a pair of same-season wins in Berkeley for the first time since 1995, the Ducks scored seven of their nine runs in the final three innings off retuning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and starter Jolene Henderson (26-5).

In the circle for the Ducks, senior Jessica Moore (17-3) notched her second win of the weekend after she pitched the first five innings against the returning Pac-12 Champions.

The returning All-American struck out eight, walked three, allowed five hits, and two of her three runs allowed were earned.

Freshman Cheridan Hawkins pitched the final two innings, struck out three, walked none, allowed one hit and no runs for her fourth save of the campaign.

Oregon jumped out to a 2-0 lead after junior catcher Alexa Peterson and Moore hit solo homers in the second and third innings, respectively.

Cal answered with three runs in the fourth inning to go back ahead, 3-2, thanks to a three-run homer by third baseman Danielle Henderson.

The Ducks countered with three runs in the fifth inning, another in the sixth and three more in the seventh for its most runs (9) in the series since a 9-1 victory in 2003.

Sophomore center field Janie Takeda singled to open the fifth inning and stole second base. Junior shortstop Courtney Ceo followed with a single and came around to score when the ball went under the center fielder's glove.

Senior second baseman Kaylan Howard followed with a single and advanced to second when the ball ricocheted off the diving shortstop's glove, then scored on a single by junior first baseman Kailee Cuico.

Senior left fielder Allie Burger scored UO's next run in the sixth after she singled, advanced on the shortstop's throwing error and a ground-out, and scored on Ceo's single.

In the seventh inning, Cuico and freshman catcher Janelle Lindvall capped the game with one- and two-run homers.

Cuico's shot tied her with Howard for the team season lead (12). The former player also moved into a tie for eighth for the Ducks career-wise (31) with former great Kathy Stahl.

Howard also improved a spot on the Duck career doubles list (eighth, 35) a day after she tied Andrea VIdlund's career school record for homers (37).

Cal's Henderson pitched the first 6.1 innings, struck out four, walked one, allowed 15 hits, and seven of her nine runs allowed were earned.

The returning first-team All-American entered the weekend leading the league in wins and stood second in ERA (0.91), strikeouts (186) and opposing batting average (.166).

In comparison for her three starts on the weekend, she logged a 3.44 ERA, pitched 18.1 of Cal's 21 innings, struck out 14, allowed 29 hits and nine earned runs, and Duck hitters batted .345 against her.

Nisa Ontiveros got Sunday's final two outs and logged no strikeouts and walks, and allowed no hits or runs.

The Bears' Brittany Vonk (2-for-3, BB) was the only home player with multiple hits, and four others hit safely once.

After UO won Saturday's series opener, 5-1, between the returning Women's College World Series advancers, Cal took Saturday's second game, 3-1.

Entering the weekend, the Bears had won seven in a row at Levine-Fricke Field vs. the Ducks after its marks in 2011 (3-0), '09 (2-0), '08 (1-0) and '07 (1-1).

Similarly, Cal had also tied or held the upper hand in Oregon's previous nine trips in 2005 (2-1), '03 (2-0), '02 (1-0), '01 (2-0), '00 (1-0), '99 (1-1), '98 (2-0), '97 (1-1) and '96 (1-0). The year prior - 1995 - was the last time UO held the advantage with 2-0 edges in both games in Strawberry Canyon.

For the weekend, two Ducks hit .500 - Howard (6 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and Cuico (5 H, 2 2B, HR, BB).

Five other starters also topped .300 - Peterson (.444, 4 H, HR, 2 RBI, 3 HBP), Takeda (.417, 5 H, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 SB), Burger (.400, 2 H), Moore (.333, 1 H, HR, RBI) and Lindvall (.300, 3 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI).

Moore claimed both of UO's wins, and logged a 1.17 ERA in her 12 innings, with 14 strikeouts and three walks.

The Sutter, Calif., native moved into a tie for 12th all-time for UO for wins in a season (17), after she already owned the team's second-, fourth- and 16th-best marks from 2012 (33), '11 (24) and '10 (16).

Career-wise, she also upped her school records Sunday for wins (80), strikeouts (824), appearances (160), wins (90) and innings (820.2).

Hawkins pitched the weekend's remaining eight innings, struck out 13, walked two, allowed seven hits.

With No. 2 Arizona State's 4-3 loss at No. 14 Stanford Sunday afternoon, Oregon moved back into the Pac-12 lead ahead of ASU (36-4, 7-2).

Looking ahead, Oregon will host eight-time national champion and No. 19 Arizona for three single games next Friday-Sunday, April 12-14.