It wasn’t pretty, but the Ducks picked up their fourth straight win, this one coming in a 3-2 victory over BYU in the first round of the Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Ducks struggled in all facets of the game but were able to hold on to the lead late. On offense, the team totaled just six hits but made all of them count. Cheridan Hawkins struggled in the pitcher’s circle, giving up two earned runs on six hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.
Hawkins was cruising through the first five innings while her offense gave her just enough run support, beginning with two runs in the second inning and ending with a single run in the fourth.
Karine Shaver, playing in front of her family and friends in her native state, got the scoring going with a single that drove in Alyssa Gillespie for the first run of the game. The Ducks continued to put pressure on the Cougars’ defense as they loaded the bases with one out. Courtney Ceo stepped up to the plate and grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning, but it allowed Gillespie to score.
Oregon showed what a dangerous team it could be with two outs when Nikki Udria drew a walk to start a rally. After advancing to second on a wild pitch by BYU pitcher McKenna Bull, Udria came around to score as Janie Takeda ripped a single back up the middle to set the score at 3-0.
Hawkins, after being in control through five innings, seemed to get a little fatigued as the Cougars rallied for a run in the sixth inning. She allowed the first three BYU players to reach base in the bottom half of the inning and after throwing a wild pitch. In turn, Oregon’s lead was cut to two. The Cougars’ rally was short-lived, though, as Hawkins calmed down and got the next three batters out to end the inning.
The seventh inning was another rough one for Hawkins, who this time loaded the bases with one out, but she almost got out of it as she struck out the next Cougars batter. Just to add a little drama, though, Hawkins walked in a run to cut the lead to one, but a pop out to Udria ended the game.
The Ducks return to action Thursday at 7 p.m. against Valparaiso in the second round of the tournament.
Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka