No. 7 Ducks win a pair in Las Vegas

No. 7 Ducks win a pair in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - The No. 7 University of Oregon softball team (6-2) staked a 9-1 victory over Utah Valley Friday afternoon to cap first-day action in the Easton Desert Classic.

En route to its third regulation-shortened win of the year (via the eight-run rule), the Duck offense tied its season high in hits (12) and doubles (3).

UO was equally dominant in the circle in sophomore right-hander Karissa Hovinga's second start of the season.

The Ralston, Neb., product (2-0) pitched her first complete game of '13, struck out seven, walked one, scattered four hits, and her one run allowed was earned.

Freshman Stevie Jo Knapp scored the Ducks' first run in the second inning after she singled with one out and came around on a double by junior catcher Alexa Peterson and infield ground-out by sophomore right fielder Sara Goodrum.

The Mesa, Ariz., product Goodrum enjoyed the first game-winning RBI of her career, while her 3 RBI for the contest was a game and personal career high.

Oregon struck again for two runs in the third inning on a two-run homer by junior first baseman Kailee Cuico that scored senior second baseman Kaylan Howard (who had laid down a two-out bunt single just prior).

Cuico's homer raised her career tally to 21 - only five shy of the ninth-best mark in school history.

In the fourth inning, Goodrum and senior left fielder Allie Burger ignited the three-run stanza with a two-out walk and single. Junior shortstop Courtney Ceo followed with a two-run double, then scored on a single by sophomore center fielder Janie Takeda through the left side.

Cuico walked and freshman third baseman Danica Mercado singled to open the fifth inning, and both later scored on a single to center field by Goodrum.

UO's game-ending final run came in the sixth after Ceo bunt-singled, and scored on an RBI double by freshman pinch hitter Koral Costa.

For the game, Ceo (3-for-4) led the Ducks in hits, and nine others hit safely once.

For Utah Valley, pitcher Josi Summers (1-2) worked the first four innings, struck out three, yielded eight hits, and all six of  her runs allowed were earned.

Cassie Herera pitched the final 1.2 innings, struck out none, walked one, allowed four hits, and all three of her runs allowed were earned.

The Wolverines scored their only run in the fourth inning. Kylee Brinkerhoff led off with a triple down the right field line, then scored on a single through the right side by Krystin Jachim two at-bats later.

Earlier in the day, Oregon beat Long Beach State (2-2) by a 10-1 count.

UO pitchers held the returning Big West champions to four hits, while the Ducks combined for 10 hits, including three homers and a triple.

In the circle, All-America senior and starter Jessica Moore (4-1) pitched the first 5.1 innings, struck out two, walked none and allowed four hits, and her one run allowed was earned. Freshman Cheridan Hawkins logged her third save of the season after she struck out one, walked none, and allowed no hits in her 1.2 innings.

Overall for the game, three Ducks went 2-for-3 - Cuico (HR, 5 RBI), Ceo (HR, 2 RBI) and Takeda (2 SB) - and three others hit safely once. Like Cuico, Lindvall also hit a three-run homer in the Ducks' six-run, sixth inning.

Looking ahead, Oregon returns for second-day tourney action Saturday vs. Louisiana-Monroe and No. 20 Hawai'i at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., then takes on Cal State Fullerton on Sunday at 11:15 a.m.