The #16 seeded Gopher Softball team is in Eugene, Oregon this weekend for a best of three game series in the NCAA Super Regionals against the #1 seed Oregon Ducks. The winner will advance to the NCAA Women;s College World Series in Oklahoma City starting Thursday.
The Gophers are playing in the Super Regionals for the first time in the school's history, while Oregon has advanced to the Super Regionals the last four seasons. Oregon's season was ended last year at home at Howe Field in the Super Regionals by another Big Ten foe, Nebraska. Prior to that, the Ducks went to the College World Series in 2012. The Gophers will have a tough opponent this weekend, and no one knows that better then Gopher coach Jessica Alister who is a former Ducks assistant.
Oregon is led by three players, two of whom were named All-Americans in 2013. Senior third baseman Courtney Ceo leads the Ducks with an amazing .484 batting average! She has started all 60 games for Oregon and also has 18 stolen bases. She is the leading candidate to be named the NCAA Player of the Year. Outfielder Janie Takeda was an All-American when she batted .442 last season. She as "slipped: slightly, only hitting .392 for the Ducks this season. She was joined on the All-American team last season by catcher Alexa Peterson who is .370 with a team leading 60 rbi on the season. This will by far be the best offensive team the Gophers have faced all season, and they will need masterful pitching out of their two Sara's, senior Sara Moulton and freshman Sara Groenewegen to advance.
In the circle, the Ducks also have a two pronged attack. Cheridan Hawkins is 31-4 with a 1.52 ERA and an absolutely insane 302 strikeouts this season. She averages nearly 1.5 strikeouts per inning. The Ducks other pitcher Karissa Hovinga is 17-2 with a 1.91 ERA. The Gophers bats starting wiht Tyler Walker and Kaitlyn Richardson, and in the middle with Groenewegen and Taylor LeMay will need to hit pitches when they get them ,because if the stats are telling the truth, they won't get many hittable pitches this weekend.
The good news is that you will be able to watch all of the games this weekend. Saturday night's opening game begins at 9:00PM and will air on ESPN2. Sunday's second game will begin at 4:00PM and will air on ESPN. If the teams play a third game, it would air at 7:00 Sunday on ESPN2. Live stats will be available by clicking on the link next to the current game of the series here.