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Scouting Softball: Ducks Aim for PAC-12 Title in Final Week vs Cal

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

(This is a weekly series focused on previewing and discussing Oregon Softball. Feel free to use this as a game thread for the upcoming series against the California Golden Bears)

The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (44-7, 18-3) have finally reached the end of the regular season. The No. 24 California Golden Bears are the last remaining challenge, and a sweep would mean the Ducks clinch the PAC-12 title. Anything short of a sweep could mean No. 1 UCLA sneaks past Oregon, despite the Ducks tiebreaker win over the Bruins.

Soon, the postseason will begin. It is all but certain that the Ducks will host their first round of opponents at the Jane, but the Golden Bears have a chance at making a statement win.

UTES PROVE NO MATCH FOR DUCKS

Oregon was clearly the better team last weekend, outscoring Utah by a collective 21-3 during their three-game home series. The first game resulted in a sixth inning run-rule victory (8-0), and the third and final series was one score away from doing the same (8-1). The second game was more competitive, but a successful fifth inning that produced four runs gave the Ducks the run support they needed to seal the win (8-1)

Gwen Svekis hit a homer in the first and third contest while Haley Cruse blasted one to left center to ensure the first victory of the series. Jenna Lilley, Alexis Mack, and Lauren Lindvall consistently got on base, and once again, Megan Kleist and Miranda Elish dominated from the circle.

UP NEXT: THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

  • The Golden Bears are 34 - 16 on the season.
  • After a strong non-conference showing (27-3), the California Golden Bears have looked much less impressive in conference play (7-13).
  • They are coming off three home losses to the No. 1 UCLA Bruins.
  • Their best wins are against Oregon State. double digit wins against UC Santa Barbara, and sweeps of Stanford and Utah.
  • Their worst losses are against James Madison, Longwood, and have gone 0-11 against the PAC-12’s best (ASU, UA, UCLA, UW).
  • Their mascot really creeps me out.
  • On Saturday, the Golden Bears will honor four seniors: Kristin Cullen, Jazmyn Jackson, Kobie Pettis and Taurie Pogue
  • California used four different pitchers against the Bruins last week, including freshman outfielder Mikayla Coelho.
  • Lindsay Rood is a perfect 30 of 30 in stolen bases on the season. She leads the PAC-12.
  • Cal hasn’t beaten Oregon since May 7, 2016, when they beat the Ducks 15-4 in Berkeley.

TOP 25

Very little has changed for the PAC-12 when it comes to top 25 rankings. No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Oregon held strong as the two best teams in the Nation. Unfortunately, it appears nothing short of a Bruins series loss to the Sun Devils and a Ducks sweep of the Golden Bears will allow Oregon to claim the No. 1 sport. The No. 5 Washington rose one spot and means the conference has three top 5 teams.

No. 6 Arizona State and No. 9 Arizona continue their steady rise in the polls. The Sun Devils have a golden opportunity against the No. 1 Bruins and the Wildcats are expected to sweep bottom-dweller Stanford. No. 24 California maintained last week’s ranking, and hopes to end the season ranked despite closing out conference play against the mighty Oregon Ducks.

PAC-12 STANDINGS

1 UCLA (18-3) 48-3

2 OREGON (18-3) 44-7

3 ARIZONA STATE (15-6) 42-9

4 WASHINGTON (15-8) 44-8

5 ARIZONA (11-10) 38-13

6 CALIFORNIA (7-13) 34-16

7 OREGON STATE (7-14) 26 -26

8 STANFORD (2-19) 23-29

9 UTAH (2-19) 20-28

CALIFORNIA - THURSDAY, 5/10, 3 PM, BERKELEY, PAC-12 NETWORK

CALIFORNIA - FRIDAY, 5/11, 3 PM, BERKELEY, PAC 12 NETWORK

CALIFORNIA - SATURDAY, 5/12, 12 PM, BERKELEY, PAC-12 NETWORK