The No. 2 Oregon Ducks softball team concluded its thrilling three-game series sweep of the visiting No. 9 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns with back-to-back victories in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at a soggy Howe Field.
— Oregon Duck Softball (@OregonSB) April 26, 2015
With both top-ten teams playing with the intensity of a regional playoff series, the Ducks weathered a rain delay and UL ace Jordan Wallace to maintain their battle for the top of the national rankings.
In game two, the Ducks closed out the Cajuns early and in familiar 8-run rule fashion. The Cajun’s sophomore pitcher Alex Stewart was no match for the Oregon offense, giving up seven hits and nine runs as Oregon raced to a 10-2 finish by the bottom of the fifth.
The Ducks capitalized on UL’s errors and walks, going up 3-0 on consecutive bases-loaded walks. In the bottom of the second, singles by Nikki Udria and Janie Takeda and a walk to Jenna Lilley loaded the bases. The stage was set for Hailey Decker‘s fielder’s choice RBI while Takeda stole home, to push the Ducks’ lead to 5-0.
Cheridan Hawkins held off the Cajuns’ offense, closing three straight innings with runners left on base. Koral Costa added to the Ducks’ lead with an off-the-wall double, scoring three runs and putting the Ducks up 9-1.
Lilley wrapped things up in the fifth with a walk-off double, knocking in the final run to give the Ducks a 10-2 victory.
After nearly an hour-long rain delay, the Ducks struggled to get things started in game three. Leandra Maly’s RBI single gave the the Cajuns a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Wallace held the Ducks to just three hits and no runs through seven innings, but a fielding error in the bottom of the seventh sent Danica Mercado home to tie the game, 1-1, sending the game into extra innings. Hawkins continued to ice the UL offense with two strikeouts and a pop out.
Lilley, who went 2-3 with a run and a walk, ripped a single up the middle. With bases loaded and no outs, Janelle Lindvall‘s sacrifice fly sent in the winning run as the Ducks edged UL, 2-1.
Lilley finished the three-game series with a batting average of .750. Hawkins earned all three wins in Oregon’s sweep, but had the support of solid pitching from Geri Ann Glasco, Karissa Hovinga and Jasmine Smithson-Willett.