EUGENE, Ore. -- After sweeping Stanford last weekend, the Ducks came back and defeated Utah Valley University 8-0 and 5-4 in a doubleheader at Howe Field.
The Oregon Ducks started the doubleheader off with a bang, with seven runs in the first inning. Head Coach Mike White played nonstarters in the two games to prepare for their series against Arizona State University this weekend.
The first game ended after four innings due to the eight run-rule. The Ducks had eight hits and no errors. Ducks pitcher Karissa Hovinga was one hit shy of pitching a no-hitter. Hovinga recorded three strikeouts for the game.
“I wasn’t too bothered by that one hit, because it all evens out,” said Hovinga. “I was really hitting my spots and mixing speeds—it’s usually my strength.”
“That was good, because we’re going to need her obviously down this stretch here,” said White. “She’s doing a great job for us lately.”
The Ducks did not come out quite as strong in the second game. The score was tied 4-4 until the sixth inning when Oregon Ducks Koral Costa came in as a pinch hitter and hit a homerun to clinch the 5-4 victory.
“I think it’s about pitch count awareness,” said Costa. “She had thrown two balls, so I knew she was going to try to come in with the strike, and I was going to be ready to hit it—it was a great feeling.”
Ducks pitcher Jasmine Smithson-Willett pitched the first four innings, then Cheridan Hawkins came in to finish the game with eight strikeouts for nine batters.
“I’ll do whatever is needed of me,” said Hawkins. “Obviously I’m here for the team, and if they need me, then that’s what I am going to do.”
The Ducks will host Arizona State University in a three game series Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, first game starting at 5pm on Howe Field for their last home appearance before regionals.