NCAA Regionals: Ducks remain unbeaten at Howe

NCAA Regionals: Ducks remain unbeaten at Howe »Play Video

EUGENE – The No. 3 University of Oregon softball team (47-9) stayed perfect in NCAA Regional play under fourth-year head coach Mike White with its 5-2 win Thursday evening over BYU (33-24) at Howe Field.

Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Jessica Moore (26-4) cruised to her 12th complete game of the season and raised her career regional postseason record to 9-0.

The senior from Sutter, Calif., struck out a season-high 12 batters – two better than her previous best vs. SDSU in late February – and tied the ninth-best Duck mark in a game.

She also walked one batter and allowed seven hits en route to her 26th win of the year – still third-best all-time for UO – and a school-record 99th career-wise.

"We played pretty well," Moore said, "but we struggled with executing our game plan a little. It was good to get the win and get the jitters out. “I struggled a little in the second inning when I let down a bit.”

In the first inning, junior DP Alexa Peterson put the Ducks ahead with a three-run homer. The shot into the left field bleachers was her 12th of the season and moved her into a tie for eighth all-time in a season for the Ducks.

The All-Region First-Team choice drove in sophomore center fielder Janie Takeda and junior shortstop Courtney Ceo who had walked to open the game.

Moore scored UO’s fourth run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Ceo to straightaway center field.

In the fifth inning, four walks in the span of five batters accounted for UO’s fifth run.

“Getting off to a three run start was great," Oregon head coach Mike White said, "and it got the jitters out early. This time of year we need to capitalize on our opportunities and then use our pitching and defense to win us the game.”

For the game, junior shortstop Courtney Ceo (2-for-2) connected on her 19th multi-hit game of the campaign, and three other Ducks hit safely once.

The Cougars scored their pair of runs in the second inning on a two-out, bases-loaded single to center field by Carly Duckworth. BYU’s Alexandra Shamo-Hudson led off the inning with a single, and Coco Tauali’i and Mylee Davis reached on a walk and hit by pitch.

In the circle for the Cougars, Tori Almond (12-7) started the game and pitched to the first three batters. After Peterson’s homer, she was replaced two pitches later by Hannah Howell who worked the remaining six innings.

Altogether, Howell gave up three hits, struck out four, walked eight batters, and one of her two runs allowed was earned.

At the plate for the Pacific Coast Softball Conference champions, three players hit safely twice – Duckworth (2-for-4, 2 RBI), right fielder Gordy Bravo (2-for-4) and Shamo-Hudson (2-for-3).

Friday's outcome raised the Ducks' NCAA Regional record to 10-0 under White after it posted perfect 3-0 marks at Georgia Tech (2010), at Penn State (2011) and at home (2012).

Moore has been the pitcher of record in each of those games except the Atlanta finale her freshman season.

Earlier Thursday afternoon at Howe Field, North Carolina (40-19) beat Big Ten Tournament champion and No. 25 Wisconsin (42-12) in 8 innings, 3-2.

Looking ahead to Friday, the Tar Heels will face the Ducks at 11 a.m. in the day’s opener, and the Cougars play the Badgers at 2 p.m. The winner of that second game will face the loser of the Oregon-UNC game at 5 p.m.

“(UNC's Lori) Spingola pitched well against a hot Wisconsin team today, so we will have to be ready for her," White said. "They will come out hard against us, and we to have a game plan for their offense and for Spingola.”

Saturday’s final-day action starts at noon between the remaining teams alive in the double-elimination format, and a second, if-necessary game would follow at 3 p.m.

More NCAA Tournament information is available at the website.