Softball: Ducks Battle No. 1 Florida Gators

Cheridan Hawkins

Softball fans were treated to a game between the top two teams in the nation, but the tilt didn’t go the way the Ducks wanted when they faced the No. 1 Florida Gators Friday in the San Diego Classic. The last time the two teams met was in the Women’s College World Series, the Gators shut out the Ducks 4-0 en route to winning the national collegiate softball championship. This game was much the same as Oregon lost 3-0.

Florida played flawless ball behind a two-hitter from their ace Delanie Gourley. Duck pitcher Cheridan Hawkins pitched well, allowing only four hits and one earned run, but the difference was Oregon’s three fielding errors, the first of which, a wild pitch, allowed the initial Florida run in the bottom of the third inning.

Hawkins delivers the pitch.

Gary Breedlove

Hawkins delivers the pitch.

Florida squashed the Ducks’ attempt at a rally in the top of the sixth when, with two runners on base, Gator catcher Aubree Munro gunned down redshirt sophomore Danica Mercado who was caught leaning the wrong way at first base. Then, Jenna Lilley went down swinging to end the inning and the only Duck threat. Hawkins took the loss and her record dropped to 5-2. She still has an excellent ERA of 0.52 and has allowed only 3 earned runs for the season.

The Ducks can take some consolation with their 8-5 victory over St. John’s in the first game of the double header in San Diego. Freshman Gwen Svekis slammed an opposite-field home run in the bottom of the second inning to score two runs, and the Ducks totaled five runs in the fourth inning to put the game out of reach. Oregon pitcher Karissa Hovinga earned the win to keep her record spotless at 6-0.

Oregon gets another crack at Florida, Friday, March 6, when the two teams meet in the Judy Harmon Classic in Fullerton, California.

Next up for the Ducks will be San Diego State Saturday, Feb. 28, at 7pm. The game will be streamed live through GoDucks.com

 Top Photo by Gary Breedlove

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Michael Bigham

Michael Bigham

Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, I attended the University of Oregon and during my collegiate summers, I worked in a lumber mill and also fought range fires on the Oregon High Desert for the Bureau of Land Management. After graduating from college at the University of Oregon, I swung from being budding hippy to cop work. I’m still wondering about how that came about. I was a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, I obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, my daughter and a spunky bichon frise named Pumpkin. I’ve had short stories publishing in two Main Street Press anthologies. Harkness is my first novel.