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Duck Softball Dives into PAC-12 Play

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FloSports: FloSoftball Mary Nutter 1 Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Oregon Softball (23-4) will begin its harrowing journey into conference play by battling the No. 3 UCLA Bruins (24-0) in Eugene Oregon for a three-game series at Jane Sanders Stadium.

The series will feature the conference’s best batting average against its best pitching unit; UCLA leads not only the PAC-12 but the country in batting average (.399) while Oregon is using the impressive talents of its two star pitchers, Sophomore Miranda Elish and Junior Megan Kleist, to dominate opposing batters (ERA 0.70).

Elish is 3rd in the nation with an ERA of 0.22 and was named PAC-12 pitcher of the week already this season. Kleist has already proven her worth through two amazing years at Oregon in which she has earned PAC-12 All Freshman, PAC-12 Co-Freshman of the year, and First Team All PAC-12, and this season she has already recorded two no-hitters.

The Ducks pitching rotation will face a serious threat in three-time Freshman of the Week Aaliyah Jordan. The redshirt freshman has lead the Bruins to an undefeated season and could prove the difference maker in what should be a competitive series, though reliable hitters like Shannon Rhodes (most recent PAC-12 player of the week), Gwen Svekis (8 Home Runs on the season), and star transfer DJ Sanders will hopefully ease the pressure for Oregon.

The PAC-12 has already proven itself as one of the nation’s best softball conferences by featuring six of its nine teams in the top 25 and four in the top 10, including the number one spot which is currently held by the Washington Huskies (28-0). Washington and UCLA are the only two ranked teams that are still unbeaten, while No. 9 Arizona (21-3) and No. 13 Arizona State (22-3) are one game apart. California (23-3) trails the rest of the PAC leaders at Number 16 nationally.

The three games will take place on Friday (5pm), Sat (7pm) and Sunday (2pm) and will all be aired on the PAC-12 Network.