The Oregon Ducks, coming off a stellar sweeping series against Arizona, hold the best Pac-12 record (13-2) and are ranked No. 7 - just behind No. 2 Arizona State - in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll. The top seven remain unchanged from last week.
(7) OREGON vs. (22) ARIZONA: Oregon 5-3, 8-0 (5), 9-0 (5)
Pac-12 leading Oregon (36-6, 13-2) has not lost a conference series yet and its sweep against Arizona (27-17, 4-8) earned it its third series sweep and fifth overall conference series win of the season. Much of the praise goes to senior pitcher Jessica Moore and freshman pitcher Cheridan Hawkins.
In the series finale, Moore (19-3), a USA Softball Player of the Year Top-25 Finalist, tossed a perfect game to end Oregon's first-ever sweep of Arizona.
"That's the best I've seen Jess pitch," Oregon head coach Mike White said. "She was in control of every one of her pitches against a very good hitting team, and she deserved it. At the plate, we're seeing the ball well, and our short game set our hitters up well, too."
In her third career no-hitter, Moore retired all 15 batters and struck out six in five innings.
"I knew I had a chance going into the last inning so I tried to bear down and do my best," Moore said.
In the game prior, Oregon's 8-0 five-inning win, it was three-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week Hawkins who was hot. The freshman pitched Oregon's first no-hitter since Moore threw a seven-inning, 6-0 victory against Weber State in 2011. Hawkins struck out 11, allowed one walk and hit two in five innings.
"I hadn't looked at the scoreboard all game, so I didn't know it until we scored the last run and my teammates asked (if I knew I had a no-hitter)," Hawkins said. "The offense had 10 hits so that gave me a lot of confidence. I just tried to stay in control and keep my composure."
Kaille Cuico and Janelle Lindvall knocked a pair of two-run homers in Oregon's 5-3 win to help the Ducks come back from 3-1 in the fifth. Lindvall followed with another two-run home run in game two. Junior catcher Alexa Peterson led Oregon in the series in hitting (.714), homers (2-tied), RBI (5-tied) and slugging (1.714).
Arizona's Hallie Wilson (2-for-4), Chelsea Suitos (2-for-4) and Brigette Del Ponte (0-for-2) each scored.
Next, Oregon will play Portland State in a doubleheader on April 16 before traveling to compete at UCLA April 26-28.
Arizona will host UCLA April 18-20.
(2) ARIZONA STATE vs. (14) WASHINGTON: Washington 3-1, Arizona State 7-1, 2-1
Arizona State (38-5, 9-3) had its lowest scoring game of the season in its 3-1 loss to Washington (32-12, 10-5), but bounced back to take the series. In the 3-1 fall, Mackenzie Popescue (16-1) earned her first loss of the year. She struck out three but allowed two earned runs on five hits and one walk. Cheyenne Coyle (1-for-3) scored in the bottom of the third.
Washington's seven-game win streak ended in game two with the help of ASU junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo (21-4) who almost had a shutout until the seventh when Washington's Kylee Lahners hit a homer. Escobedo tallied seven strikeouts in her 20th win of the season, her third 20-plus win season of her career. She followed with a series finale win, striking out five and allowing one earned run on four hits. Washington's Kaitlin Inglesby (17-5) struck out one, had four walks and allowed two earned runs on nine hits.
Next, Arizona State will play at Utah April 19-21.
Washington will host Stanford April 19-21.
(10) CALIFORNIA vs. (18) UCLA: UCLA 6-5 (9), 3-2 (9), California 5-1 (10)
A combined 28 innings were played in this series between California (32-8, 7-5) and UCLA (28-14, 5-10) and it was a program-first for Cal to compete in three straight extra-inning games. In the 10-inning finale, Cal senior pitcher Jolene Henderson (27-7) struck out five and allowed five hits, four walks and one unearned run in the complete game. Not only did she fan away some Bruins, but she knocked out a three-run homer in the tenth on her only hit of the day for Cal's win.
UCLA won the first two games, with Allexis Bennett scoring on a fielder's choice by Ally Carda to end the ninth and win 6-5. Carda came in to relieve Paige McDuffee - who allowed all of Cal's runs in 5.1 innings - and earned the win striking out seven in 3.2 innings. Henderson fanned eight in 8.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on 12 hits. UCLA's Devon Lindvall (3-for-4) and Cal's Victoria Jones (0-for-2) each led with two runs apiece.
UCLA continued with its high-hit number, totaling 10 in its 3-2 win with Stephany LaRosa leading (3) and Carda and Gracie Goulder following with two each. Carda earned her second win, striking out five in five innings and allowing just one hit.
Next, UCLA will play at Arizona April 18-20.
California will face non-conference Santa Clara on April 17 and Oregon State April 19-21.
UTAH vs. OREGON STATE: Oregon State 6-2, Utah 11-2, Oregon State 10-2 (5)
Oregon State (26-15, 3-9) won its first conference series of the season, winning two of three against Utah (18-23-1, 4-11), while the Utes earned their first-ever Pac-12 road win. OSU senior Lea Cavestany went a team-best 2-for-3 with three RBI in OSU's 6-2 win, was again 2-for-3 with one RBI in Utah's 11-2 victory and in the series finale was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. The Beavers piled on 15 hits in the latter with nine RBI. Natalie Hampton (2-for-3) had two runs and two RBI and Desiree Beltran was a solid 3-for-3 with one run and one RBI. Utah's Kate Dickman (3-for-4, 2 HR) tied Utah's single-game record with seven RBI -- of Utah's 11 total -- in its 11-2 win.
"I didn't even realize until after we broke our post-game huddle that this was our first Pac-12 road win," Utah Head Coach Amy Hogue said. "That's how focused we are on winning this series and that's what we came here to try to do. It's fun to see how focused this team is and I'm excited to what we can do tomorrow."
Next, Oregon State will play at California April 19-21.
Utah will battle at Utah State on April 16 before hosting Arizona State April 19-21.
(16) STANFORD (28-12, 5-7) beat non-conference San Jose State 7-1 on April 10 with much thanks to birthday girl, senior Jenna Rich. Rich finished 3-for-4 with two homers, a single and two RBI. It was the third straight year she's knocked a homer on her birthday. Cassandra Roulund also played 3-for-4 with a two-run double and two singles, while Erin Ashby was 2-for-4 and the Cardinal drilled 10 hits. Teagan Gerhart earned her 16th win in the circle while San Jose State rotated through four pitchers.
Next, Stanford will host non-conference Saint Mary's on April 17 before competing at Washington April 19-21.