EUGENE, Ore. – Cal was able to come up with hits against Duck ace Cheridan Hawkins, but five runs in the first inning from the No. 1 team in the country were too much for the Golden Bear softball team to overcome as Oregon downed Cal 9-1 in five innings to start the series Thursday at Howe Field.
Junior Danielle Henderson had a double and junior Breana Kostreba and senior Ashley Decker also had hits off of Hawkins, but the Oregon pitcher struck out eight and walked only one to help her team to victory. Sophomore Nisa Ontiveros allowed four earned runs and walked one in her start, while freshman Katie Sutherland-Finch tossed one strikeout and allowed a walk and four runs in her four-inning performance.
The bulk of Oregon's runs came in their first trip through the order. Starter Ontiveros gave up a bunt single and a single through the left side put two runners on before Janie Takeda sent leadoff batter Courtney Ceo home on a double to left center. Next, home run leader Kailee Cuico drew a walk to fill the diamond. Janelle Lindvall hit into a fielder's choice, but an error on the throw to home allowed two runners to cross for the 3-0 lead. Alexa Peterson drove another two runs home on a double to right center before Sutherland-Finch replaced Ontiveros in the circle and pitched three consecutive outs.
Peterson added two more to the Oregon score at the bottom of the third with a two-run homer to left center that also scored Cuico.
The Bears found some rhythm at the top of the fourth, starting with a leadoff double by Henderson. She moved over to third on a wild pitch before Kostreba singled to short to send her in and make the score 7-1.
The Ducks answered quickly, with Ceo drawing a walk at the bottom of the fourth and then moving to second on a ground out. Takeda singled to the outfield, advancing to second on the throw in as Ceo ran home and scored. Cuico followed with the exact same hit to the outfield, advancing to second on the throw home while Takeda scored her own run to end the game by run-rule.
Cal returns to Howe Field Friday at 4 p.m. for Oregon’s Pink Game in honor of breast cancer awareness.
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