Pac-12 softball in the polls: April 22
Oregon and UCLA remain on top while Arizona State joins the top five. Here's how the Pac-12 fared in the latest release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll:
No. 1 Oregon (40-5, 14-1 Pac-12)
Oregon had little problem defending its unanimous No. 1 ranking after sweeping California (22-20, 4-9 Pac-12) over the weekend. The Ducks exploded for 31 runs in only 17 innings played. Thursday’s and Friday’s games were run-rule victories, but the Ducks needed a full seven innings to complete the sweep. Sophomore pitcher Cheridan Hawkins picked up two victories to advance her record to 24-3 and senior right fielder Alexa Peterson hit 3-of-7 with six RBI and three runs scored. The highlight of the weekend was Friday’s 15-run fourth inning in which three players homered, including a grand slam from Sammie Puentes. The Ducks travel to Stanford this weekend.
No. 2 UCLA (41-4, 12-3 Pac-12)
The No. 2 Bruins hosted Cal State Northridge last Tuesday, Oregon State (13-26, 3-13 Pac-12) over the weekend and then traveled for a doubleheader at Long Beach State on Monday. UCLA breezed through its opponents and have won eight straight since dropping the series to Oregon. Bruins senior pitcher Jessica Hall and junior catcher Stephany LaRosa swept the Pac-12 Players of the Week awards announced on Monday. Hall won all three games that she pitched in, starting on Tuesday and Friday and in relief on Saturday. Hall fanned 21 batters in 15 innings including 11 against Cal State Northridge. LaRosa was a tour de force at the plate, hitting 6-of-11 in four games including a pair of home runs, eight RBI and four runs scored. The Bruins travel to Berkeley to take on Cal this weekend.
No. 5 Arizona State (39-7, 13-4 Pac-12)
The Sun Devils traveled to Seattle over the weekend and were met with rain – a lot of it – forcing the teams to face off in a Friday doubleheader. The first game was an epic pitchers’ duel between Arizona State senior Dallas Escobedo and Washington's Kaitlin Inglesby. The Huskies took a 1-0 lead into the top of the seventh inning on an Inglesby home run in the fourth inning. Amber Freeman and Haley Steele had the only two hits of the game for Arizona State – both home runs, giving the Devils a narrow 3-1 victory. The second game saw the Devils’ bats wake up with 14 hits including Haley Steele’s 4-of-5 performance. Unfortunately, Arizona State also left 15 runners on base including the bases loaded for three consecutive innings.
No. 10 Arizona (34-9, 9-6 Pac-12)
Arizona was idle over the weekend but maintained its No. 10 ranking. The Wildcats face New Mexico State in a doubleheader on Wednesday and Utah (20-20, 5-12 Pac-12) this weekend in Tucson.
No. 11 Washington (25-12, 5-8 Pac-12)
The Huskies split the series with Arizona State over the weekend to maintain their current ranking at No. 11. The Huskies now have won four of their past six games. Senior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby had a perfect game in the first contest of the double-dip heading into the seventh inning. She did it all by retiring the first 18 batters she faced as well as scoring the only run on a solo HR in the fourth inning. Senior first baseman Hooch Fagaly secured the series split in the second game with a walk-off lead-off solo home run in the 10th inning.