While softball’s home opener is still more than a week away (March 13 against New Mexico, incidentally), the Ducks paired stellar pitching with hot bats to go undefeated during the weekend’s Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla.
With its six straight wins, including a head-turning 13-4 win over No. 14 Michigan, Oregon softball also set or tied a slew of program records.
With six home runs against the Wolverines, a Super Regional returnee, the Ducks tied the school’s record in a game. Senior second baseman Kaylan Howard jacked two over the fence — one in the third and one in the fourth — and four of her teammates joined her to reach the same mark Oregon hit in 1999 against Santa Clara.
Howard’s two homers upper her team-leading mark to nine this season.
Joining her home run spree were senior right fielder Samantha Pappas (3-for-5, 2 RBI), junior first baseman Kailee Cuico (3-for-5, 2 RBI), freshman catcher Janelle Lindvall (3-for-4, 2 RBI), and junior shortstop Courtney Ceo (2-for-5, 2 RBI).
The offensive explosive came against one of the nation’s best pitchers, All-Big Ten First-teamer Sara Driesenga (12-4), who gave up nine hits and six runs in 3.2 innings. Her supporting bullpen didn’t fare much better after her exit — Stephanie Speierman and Alice Fitzpatrick combined to strike out four but relinquish eight hits and seven runs.
The win came on the heels of another dominant win, this one a 12-1 rout over James Madison. Lindvall and Howard both knocked out home runs in this match as well, and Jamie Rae Sullivan and Alexa Peterson both added singers in the 15-hit victory.