Ducks slam out Civil War win, stake claim in share of Pac-12

EUGENE - A trio of freshmen keyed the No. 4 University of Oregon softball team (44-7, 17-3) to its second-biggest winning margin in the last +30 years of Civil War play vs. Oregon State (32-19, 7-13).

The win, combined with Arizona State's loss at Arizona, gives Oregon a share of its first ever Pac-12 Championship.

Saturday afternoon's 11-0, five-inning victory trailed only its 13-0 margin in 1991, and the Ducks' run output was its third-best vs. OSU since the start of NCAA play in 1982 behind a 12-3 victory in 1991.

"Sometimes it takes a little spark to really get the fire going," Oregon head coach Mike White said. "The bases loaded walk to Janelle was big and really broke the ice. Cheridan pitched another two-hitter and did a lot of great things, too."

In front of a sellout Howe Field crowd of 1,298, Duck pitchers combined on their 13th shutout of the season, and the offense also scored in double digits for the 13th time in '13.

In the circle, freshman Cheridan Hawkins (17-4) struck out nine in four innings, walked only one, and allowed four hits.

"Alexa and I were able to mix up our pitches really well," Hawkins said, "and we took it one pitch at a time. Today was a big win, and it was really exciting to come through for the team."

Sophomore Karissa Hovinga finished her 14th game of the season. In her final inning of work, the Ralston, Neb., native struck out one, walked one, and yielded two hits.

In the third inning, freshman DP Janelle Lindvall posted her fourth game-winning RBI of the season with a bases-loaded walk off starter Sarah Shadinger.

Freshman third baseman Koral Costa followed with her fourth homer of the year and first career grand slam to left field in the five-run inning.

"I hit one really far yesterday, but it went foul, so it was nice to get one that counted," Costa said. "Coach told us beforehand that we needed to score early and be smart at the plate. The noise and huge crowd were great, and really helped kickstart the the team."

In the fourth inning, UO's next run came on singles by sophomore center fielder Janie Takeda, senior second baseman Kaylan Howard and junior first baseman Kailee Cuico.

OSU reliever Marina Demore walked two more batters to force in another run, and Lindvall drilled the Ducks' second grand slam of the day to left field for the team's final runs of the game.

Finishing with a team-season high 5 RBI, Lindvall's homer was also her 11th of 2013, and moved her into a tie for 13th place all-time for the Ducks in a season.

Likewise, Howard moved up a spot on the career RBI list (fifth, 140), and season runs chart (eighth, 47).

Other Duck all-time season list improvements were claimed by junior shortstop Courtney Ceo (runs, fourth, 49) and Takeda (hits, third, 76; runs, 10th, 46).

Takeda (2-for-3) led UO in hits Saturday, thanks to her team-high 27th multi-hit game of the season.

Overall in her 3.1 innings, Beaver starter Shadinger (2-3) struck out two, walked five, allowed seven hits and seven earned runs.

Demore retired the final two outs, struck out one, walked two, and yielded two hits and four earned runs.

With Saturday's outcome, the Pac-12-leading Ducks guaranteed themselves of taking their seventh Pac-12 series in as many tries this year after winning Friday's opener, 2-1.

Looking ahead to the Ducks' regular season home finale, the two teams meet on Sunday at 1 p.m., with action again broadcast live by the Pac-12 TV Network.