Pac-12 softball in the polls: April 15
The Oregon Ducks swept in-state rival Oregon State over the weekend and became the first team to earn a clean sweep of all 32 first-place votes. Here's how the Pac-12 fared in the latest release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll:
[Related: 2014 Pac-12 softball schedule]
No. 1 Oregon (37-5, 11-1 Pac-12)
The first-place Ducks recovered from their first conference loss to UCLA by sweeping the Beavers in the Civil War series in Corvallis. Ducks ace Cheridan Hawkins pitched 10 innings over the series and fanned 12 batters en route to picking up her 21st and 22nd wins. After a close 10-5 victory on Saturday, the Ducks decimated the Beavers, outscoring its opponent 28-2 in back-to-back run-rule games. Catcher Janelle Lindvall paced the offense with 7-of-10 hitting with seven RBI and two homeruns while Kailee Cuico was 4-of-8 over the series with five RBI and two homeruns.
No. 2 UCLA (36-4, 9-3 Pac-12)
The No. 2 Bruins were idle last weekend and suffered no ill effects in the latest poll, maintaining ranking securely behind the top-ranked Ducks. The Bruins returned to the diamond on Tuesday and defeated Cal State Northridge (26-19) in a run-rule 8-0 victory at home. Jessica Hall took the win and catcher Brittany Moeai knocked her first career home run as well as a two-RBI double in the decisive sixth inning. Next up for the Bruins is Oregon State in a Thursday-Saturday series in Westwood.
No. 6 Arizona State (38-6, 12-3 Pac-12)
The Sun Devils completed their second consecutive conference sweep last week when the Utes visited Tempe over the weekend. Neither the sweep nor any of the games came easy as Utah fought tooth and nail, but Arizona State’s ability to close out games prevailed. First-year head coach Craig Nicholson earned his 1000th career victory on Friday night and senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo picked up her 17th win. Escobedo celebrated her birthday on Sunday by picking up the win and the sweep.
No. 10 Arizona (34-9, 9-6 Pac-12)
Arizona dropped a spot in the polls this week due to a 9-1 loss at California on Saturday. The Wildcats rebounded on Sunday with a 9-2 win and secured their third conference series win of the season. Senior pitcher Estela Piñon picked up the two wins to advance her record to 13-5 on the season. Freshman phenom Katiyana Mauga fueled the ‘Cats on offense with a home run in both wins. Arizona hosts New Mexico State in a non-conference doubleheader next Wednesday and welcomes Utah next weekend.
No. 11 Washington (24-11, 4-7 Pac-12)
No. 11 UW had a bittersweet weekend, dropping Friday’s game to Stanford 13-5 and subsequently dropping out of the top 10 for the first time this season. The Huskies, however, seem to be back on the winning track with the series win over the Cardinal. For the first time in half a decade, Washington swept the Pac-12 Player of the Week awards with junior rightfiedler Kylee Lahners and senior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby taking the honors. Lahners went 5-of-10 with four RBI and two home runs, her first multi-home run game to earn the award for the second time this season. Inglesby, a four-time career honoree, pitched two complete games over the weekend, including her second shutout of the season and the 17th of her career.