May 12, 2016
EUGENE, Ore. – The No. 3 ranked Oregon softball team clinched a fourth-straight Pac-12 championship with a 5-1 victory over Utah on Thursday night at Jane Sanders Stadium.
The Ducks (42-7, 18-3) used a complete game from Cheridan Hawkins and a 3-for-3 night at the plate by Geri Ann Glasco to win the series opener against Utah. Oregon has won 17 straight games against Utah, dating back to 2007.
“It’s a really exciting moment for this team and I’m really excited that I get to do that here at Jane Sanders Stadium,” Hawkins said. “This conference is hard to play in, and to be able to win four straight Pac-12 titles, that’s a huge thing.”
“I definitely took it all in, especially being a senior,” Koral Costa said. “You’re not going to get this again. I’m never going to be a part of another Pac-12 championship again. It was neat to see the crowd on its feet.”
PAC-12 CHAMPS: Oregon’s four-year seniors (Hawkins, Janelle Lindvall, Koral Costa and Stevie Jo Knapp) have won a Pac-12 championship each year of their careers. The Ducks had never won a conference title before their current four-year streak, which matches UCLA (1988-91) for the longest in conference history. Each one of Oregon’s four league titles has been outright.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Ducks took a 1-0 lead in the second when Lauren Lindvall singled up the middle to score pinch runner Danica Mercado from third. The Utes got the run back, however, in the third on a RBI double. It could have been a bigger inning for Utah but Alyssa Gillespie gunned down a runner at home to end the frame.
It remained a 1-1 game until the fifth when Glasco delivered a two-run single with Nikki Udria just beating the throw home to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead.
Gillespie added to the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run homer to left, which happened after a two-out error would have ended the inning.
With two runners on base, Hawkins got back-to-back flyouts to end the game.
HAWKINS HIGHLIGHT: Hawkins picked up her 20th win of the season on Thursday night. The lefty allowed just one run on five hits in the complete game with four strikeouts and one walk. She needed just 86 pitches to get through seven innings.
UP NEXT: The Ducks will look to win the series on Friday with a 7 PM first pitch on Pac-12 Networks.