Oregon Ducks Softball Travels To Arizona State, Look To Maintain Momentum

Oregon faces UCLA at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene, OregonJustin Phillips/KPNW Sports
Oregon faces UCLA at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene, OregonJustin Phillips/KPNW Sports /

The Oregon Ducks resume Pac-12 play and face Arizona State on the road for three games this weekend.

More from Autzen Zoo

The Oregon Ducks Softball team has had the last 12 days off to get over the first part of the season and prepare for the stretch run. They last swept the Oregon State Beavers on the road and spent several weeks in their new home in Eugene, Jane Sanders Stadium, having some success and failure and learning in the process that home field advantage sometimes does not go your way.

Now, the Oregon Ducks take a five game winning streak on the road and visit Arizona State for three games this weekend. ASU is in 8th place in the Pac-12 and were swept last weekend at Utah. Both teams are on the opposite side of the Standings with Oregon ranked 1st in the Conference and 5th in the nation entering the series.

Arizona State can swipe the bases. Last season they had 15 stolen bases, so far in 2016 they are at 42. This may be worth watching throughout the series. If the Sundevils can get on base, it could be the difference.

Chelsea Gonzales is one to watch for the series. She is six RBI’s from re-setting her season best from her Freshman year last season and is hitting .339 on the year wiht 40 hits and 40 RBI’s. Kelsey Kessler leads in the circle for ASU with a 2.88 Earned Run Average and a 13-8 record on the year. She has 11 complete games as the Staff Ace to go with 2 saves.

On the other side, the Oregon Ducks after losing their first Pac-12 series in two years against the Bruins last month, found their Offense sweeping Portland at Jane Sanders Stadium and sweeping Oregon State in Corvallis.

The player to watch for Oregon is Cheridan Hawkins, the Senior comes in just three strikeouts shy of 1000 in her career. She has 9 complete games on the year and a 2.47 ERA. It has been a season of change for Hawkins, as she is not the only ace on the Ducks Staff.

Freshman Megan Kleist could be considered the ‘1B’ to Hawkins. The Freshman has showed composure on the mound and is 13-3 on the year with 5 complete games and an ERA just under 3. If Hawkins holds down the fort, Kleist has been the one to slam the door this season in the circle.

The Oregon Offense has found its way again after losing two of three to the Bruins. The team scored 7 or more run in three of the five games against Portland and Oregon State and had a run ruled game against both the Pilots and the Beavers. Koral Costa has been consistent at the plate all season hitting at a .450 clip and over .500 in Pac-12 play this season. As a team the Ducks are leading the nation hitting .366. Oregon is also finding the gaps and is hitting the ball where extra base hits are the norm, averaging 1.5 per game.

Stellar pitching from Arizona State will have to be the lead story for the Sundevils to get a series win, and with the Oregon Ducks having close to two weeks off, it could be a deciding factor, but Mike White and his team will be rested and ready to go.

Next: Athlon Sports: Oregon Duck Is Top Twitter Mascot

The three games series with Oregon and Arizona State begins Friday(7pm Pacific Time), continues on Saturday(7pm PT) and concludes Sunday(1pm PT). The games on Saturday and Sunday will be on the Pac-12 Network.