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.
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