As Oregon prepares for its biggest weekend of the young season, the Ducks stayed in the national rankings.
Oregon checked in at No. 20 in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today polls. The Ducks (11-4) fell three spots in both polls, despite going 4-2 at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif last weekend.
They’ll know return to California to take part in the Judy Garman Classic in Fullerton, where the competition is excepted to ramp up.
Oregon faces No. 3 Florida (18-0) and host-team Cal-State Fullerton on Thursday before a solo game against No. 21 Auburn (13-3) on Friday. The Ducks will conclude the tournament on Saturday with a double-header against Michigan and No. 7 Tennessee (13-2).
To be successful, the Ducks must figure out their pitching woes. Although sophomore Jordan Dail (9-0) has performed admirably by leading the Pac-12 in wins and strikeouts, she also leads the conference in walks, dishing out 37 in 69 innings. It doesn’t get much better as No. 2 pitcher Maddie MacGrandle has 34 walks in just 25.2 innings thrown this season.
“We’ve got to get this figured out. Our pitchers have got to get this figured out," Oregon head coach Melyssa Lombardi said. "We cannot depend on one; we have to be able to depend on all three.”
Still, Oregon is bolstered by an offense that has five players batting .333 or above — six players also have an on-base percentage of .400 or above. Shaye Bowden leads the team with a .409 average while Rachel Cid and Hannah Galey have three homeruns each — Haley Cruse lead the nation with 17 walks while Cid has drawn 13.