Hawkins’ 18 Ks Lift Oregon Past UNLV, 3-1
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Cheridan Hawkins rang up a school-record 18 batters to lift the Oregon softball team past UNLV, 3-1, at Eller Media Stadium on Friday evening.
The sophomore went the distance for the Ducks, pitching 10 strong innings, giving up just one earned run on three hits while breaking her own school record of 17 strikeouts, which she set last year in a 4-0 shutout of Seattle U.
"Cheridan was at her best tonight when we needed her the most," said head coach Mike White. "Our offense struggled against some good pitching and her performance gave us a chance to win."
While Hawkins kept the Rebels at bay, Oregon's offense came through in the end for the Ducks.
In the top half of the 10th inning, Nikki Udria advanced Alyssa Gillespie and Jasmine Smithson-Willett to second and third on a sac bunt. Janie Takeda then plated Gillespie on a fielder’s choice groudner to give Oregon the 2-1 lead. Smithson-Willett scored an insurance run on a sacrifice fly to center from Courtney Ceo, giving the Ducks a 3-1 lead.
"Janie and Courtney gave us some clutch hitting in the end," White added.
Hawkins slammed the door on UNLV (1-5) in the bottom of the 10th, forcing a pop fly followed by back-to-back strikeouts to record the complete-game win. Her final two strikeouts in the 10th tied her previous school record and then broke it.
Oregon (6-1) played in just one extra innings game last year (against Nebraska in the Super Regionals), but have already played in two so far this season. The Ducks have won all three.
The Ducks scored first on a wild pitch from the Rebels’ starting pitcher Amanda Oliveto. Takeda singled on a bunt to load the bases after Jamie Rae Sullivan and Udria drew back-to-back walks. Pinch running for Sullivan, Lexy Beaudrie-Pierson was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice by Ceo. With Janelle Lindvall at the plate and runners on second and third, Oliveto crossed up her catcher and threw a wild pitch, scoring Udria.
Hawkins pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the fourth after loading the bases, getting Jaexie Balilea to fly out to center and Jamie DePippo on a swinging strike.
UNLV threatened to score once again in the fifth, this time plating the tying run after Lindvall overthrew to second trying to catch Garie Blando on a steal.
Hawkins dashed any hopes the Rebels had of getting the walk-off win, striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
Oliveto also went the distance for UNLV, tossing 10 innings, giving up three runs (two unearned) with six walks and six strikeouts.
The Ducks return to action tomorrow with a pair of games at the Easton Desert Classic. Oregon first takes on UT Chattanooga at 11:15 a.m. and then faces Ohio State at 1:30 p.m. to wrap up Saturday’s games.