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NCAA softball regionals: Cheridan Hawkins, Oregon Ducks blank BYU

GoDucks.com

Oregon

Cheridan Hawkins tossed a shutout and the second-seeded Ducks scored five runs in the fifth inning en route to an 8-0 six-inning run-rule victory over BYU in the Eugene Regional opener Thursday night. The Ducks will face North Dakota State Friday morning at 11 a.m. PT, while BYU plays Fresno State in the loser’s bracket.

Boasting the third-best batting average in the nation entering the NCAA tournament, Oregon didn’t need a hit to score its first run, as BYU pitcher McKenna Bull walked two Ducks and hit two more to gift Oregon a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The Cougars kept it close for much of the game in large thanks to its defense, turning a double play to end the second inning and throwing two runners out at home to keep it a 2-0 game heading into the top of the fifth.

BYU had its best chance to put a crooked digit on the board in the fifth, when catcher Sydney Broderick smacked a double to lead off the inning. However, USA Softball Player of the Year award finalist Hawkins buckled down in the circle, getting McKenzie St. Clair to pop out before striking out Coco Tauali’i and Alexa Strid.

Oregon blew it open in the bottom half, getting an RBI single from Geri Ann Glasco and two-run doubles from Koral Costa and Nikki Udria. The Ducks walked off Howe Field in the bottom of the sixth when Costa, handcuffed by an inside pitch, Texas Leaguered one just over the head of the third baseman Tauali’i, allowing Hailey Decker to score from second.

Hawkins struck out 12 batters while allowing just one hit and one walk in six innings of work, lowering her top-10 nationally-ranked ERA to 1.35. Costa was one of five Ducks to boast a two-hit game at the plate, going 2-3 with three RBI. Udria and Glasco both went 2-3 with two RBI.

The three-time-defending Pac-12 champions improved to 16-0 in regional play under head coach Mike White.

The Ducks were the only Pac-12 team in action Thursday. The remaining Pac-12 teams in the NCAA tournament kick off their campaigns Friday, so check back here at Pac-12.com for continued coverage of the softball postseason.

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