Winning is becoming routine for women’s softball at the University of Oregon and they have dominated all season. It’s no secret that sports at the U of O have blown up over the past few years, and the ladies are carrying a good portion of the load.
Currently sitting at a Pac-12 Conference record of 18-3 and an overall record of 42-7, the Ducks are primed to win their third consecutive Pac-12 title. The ladies are looking to accomplish something only Arizona and UCLA have achieved in Pac-12 history. The possibility of the team getting the three-peat is due to their balanced squad: the pitching, fielding and hitting are all among the league leaders.
Pitching, hitting, and fielding all go hand in hand, you can’t win games without each contributing. The starting rotation for the Ducks have a cumulative earned run average of 2.43, simply astounding. Opponents matching up with the ladies have an atrocious cumulative earned run average of 7.58. These stellar performances have enabled three Ducks (Cheridan Hawkins, Geri Ann Glasco, Megan Kleist) to place in the top 7 pitchers in the Pac-12, when it comes to ERA.
This is just one of many categories the Ducks lead.
Hawkins has distanced herself from the rest of the league in strikeouts (220) and opponent batting average (.173), leading the PAC in both categories. Oregon certainly has an ace in Hawkins and her résumé is continuing to grow. She will be appearing on the 2016 USA Elite Team this summer, an honor Hawkins is certainly worthy of. She isn’t the only outstanding arm in the line up though — opps beware.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) May 9, 2016
Part of the reason the Ducks have limited their runs against comes from a minimal amount of hits and batters walked. Glasco, Kleist, and Hawkins are in the top three hits allowed and walks allowed. How does an opposing batter manage to get on base when they are required to face the Ducks three-headed pitching dragon that doesn’t allow you to walk or manage a hit and leads the league in strike outs? Simple – you don’t. When you have a reliable rotation that trusts its defense, wins sort of just happen naturally.
After starting his career with the Ducks six years ago, Mike White has officially found his groove. He has proved himself and has solidified his position as the lead Duck. Oregon has grown accustomed to winning and that is because of his influence. Under White’s leadership the girls have achieved the school’s first ever Pac-12 titles – and in back-to-back years. Fans and audiences alike can enter the new Jane Sanders Stadium expecting to see a highlight reel along with a win.
Plain and simple the Ducks are just fun to watch. As a coach, it’s important to make sure the team understands that in order to win you need to have fun. This team comprehends the idea of fun and embraces it, the team chemistry seems to be at a peak. White’s bond with his squad appears to be unique and with a well-respected mentor in the dugout, it’s easy for the players to feel comfortable.
UCLA is a worthy adversary with a record of 35-13-1 and appear to be a likely opponent the Ducks could face further down the road. The Bruins are one of many teams in the way of Oregon’s destiny, but the team’s recent 14-game win streak says otherwise. The team compiled a Golden State Warriors-esque winning streak and continue to impress. Beating teams such as Utah Valley and California by double digits and by showing no mercy, the Ducks went without a loss for more than a month.
Oregon Ducks softball one win away from Pac-12 title after 5-2 win over California Golden Bears – The Register https://t.co/WlvkBE0MyK
— Oregon Ducks Hub (@OregonDucksSoup) May 11, 2016
The team also put on a clinic for more than a month during the first half of the season with an even better 18-game win streak. Winning isn’t accomplished easily at the collegiate level, putting together two separate win streaks of that caliber is remarkable. Closing out the season with a home series against a solid Utah team will help keep the Ducks on their toes and primed for what lies ahead.
If you are a true lover of the game of baseball or softball, please look no further than this team. Use the eye test to observe this squad and recognize that they are hungry for more. These girls mean business and they don’t care about the stats. They are selfless, hard working and fired up to win back-to back-to back Pac-12 championships. The ultimate goal is winning a national championship and they are well on their way.
Top Photo By Gary Breedlove