Solid pitching and timely offense gave the second-ranked Oregon Ducks softball crew an early lead at the NCAA Super Regionals against North Carolina State.
Oregon’s slugging offense stayed silent through three innings, but exploded for four runs in the fourth and added on two more in the fifth to cap a 6-1 win over the Wolfpack on Friday night in Eugene.
Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Cheridan Hawkins made one mistake; a behind-in-the-count gift to the very first batter she faced. Renada Davis knocked a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence to give NC State the early lead. Pin that one on early-game jitters, because Hawkins stifled every other batter she faced. Hawkins struck out 14–four short of her career high–and gave up just two hits, that home run, and walked three in her complete game outing.
While Hawkins stifled the opposing bats, the Ducks were revving up for a decent night at the plate. They didn’t get on the board until the fourth inning, when NC State’s Emily Weiman loaded the bases and pegged Danica Mercado to bring freshman phenom Jenna Lilley across the plate and tie the game. Alyssa Gillespie scored two more with a ground ball to short that escaped Maggie Hawkins’ glove on the throw to first. Nikke Udria tacked on one more in the fourth with an RBI single down the first base line.
Geri Ann Glasco continued the offensive burst in the fifth with a double to center off reliever Courtney Mirabella that scored Hailey Decker from second. Mercado capped it off with a sacrifice fly to score Janelle Lindvall.
Oregon will advance to Oklahoma City if it beats NC State in Game 2, Saturday at 12 p.m. PT in Eugene (ESPN).