Top-seeded Ducks get 1-hitter
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Making her debut in the Women's College World Series, Oregon sophomore left-hander Cheridan Hawkins acknowledged she was a bit nervous, which led to a shaky first inning.
She quickly recovered, though, pitching a one-hitter in top-seeded Oregon's 3-0 victory over Florida State on Thursday in the opening round.
Alexa Peterson had a pair of hits, including a run-scoring double, to help Oregon (55-7-1) break the school record for victories in a season. The Ducks advanced to play Florida on Friday. Florida, which beat the Ducks 2-1 in eight innings Feb. 28, downed Baylor 11-0 in five innings in another first-round game Thursday.
Hawkins (34-4) gave up only a leadoff single to Maddie O'Brien in the first inning. Courtney Senas drew a one-out walk two batters later, but Hawkins escaped the jam and the left-hander eventually retired 16 straight batters before a two-out error in the sixth. She also gave up a leadoff walk in the seventh, but that was it for Florida State (55-8).
"She was under (former Oregon All-American) Jessica Moore's wing last year," Oregon coach Mike White said about Hawkins. "This year, she's stepped up huge. Going back to our very first game of the season, it didn't look that way to start off, but she's shown great composure and worked very hard. ... She loves to have the weight on her shoulders and carries it extremely well."
Florida State pitcher Lacey Waldrop (38-6), the Division I player of the year, didn't make it out of the sixth inning after giving up 10 hits. Alyssa Gillespie singled and scored on a groundout by Janelle Lindvall in the first for Oregon, and Peterson singled and scored on a single by Nikki Udria -- the Ducks' No. 9 hitter -- in the second.
Koral Costa and Peterson had successive doubles down the left-field line in the fifth.
"The offense and defense always pick me up continuously," Hawkins said. "When I get the opportunity to help out and do my part, it's what I like to do. They worked really hard and scored some runs, which is really nice."
Florida State (55-8), making its first WCWS appearance in 10 years, will face Baylor on Saturday in an elimination game. The Seminoles recovered from a 17-3 loss to Michigan in the first game of their super regional to win two straight to qualify for the WCWS.
Kentucky 4, Louisiana-Lafayette 1: Kelsey Nunley threw a one-hitter, Lauren Cumbess homered and had an RBI double and the Wildcats won the first World Series game in program history.
Kentucky (49-14), which won twice at longtime softball power UCLA in the super regional, posted its first win in five tries against Louisiana-Lafayette (49-9-1).
The Wildcats will play Alabama on Friday, while Louisiana-Lafayette will face Oklahoma on Saturday.
Lexie Elkins had the only hit against Nunley (30-9), slamming her 23rd home run of the season in the first inning. But the Ragin' Cajuns -- who entered the game hitting .307 -- never advanced a runner past second base after that, failing to take advantage of five walks.
Nunley outdueled Louisiana-Lafayette's Christina Hamilton (29-3), who threw a five-hitter but saw her six-game winning streak end.
"I didn't know what to expect," Kentucky coach Rachel Lawson said. "I was just really proud of my team because we came out and we fought from the first inning on. Our offense did a nice job, Nunley was great on the mound and defensively we made all the plays that we needed to make. It's a good day for Kentucky softball. I don't know what else to say. It's pretty cool."
Alabama 6, Oklahoma 2: Jaclyn Traina threw a one-hitter, and Peyton Grantham and Jadyn Spencer homered in second-seeded Alabama's victory over defending national champion Oklahoma.
Alabama (51-11), which beat the Sooners for the 2012 national title, will play Kentucky on Friday. The Southeastern Conference powers didn't meet during the regular season or the league tournament.
Oklahoma' only hit off Traina (24-3) was a solo home run by the third batter, Shelby Pendley. Otherwise Traina -- the winning pitcher for the Crimson Tide in the decisive game of the 2012 WCWS -- kept the Sooners (50-12) off balance, striking out nine.
Grantham hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning to put Alabama up 4-2 and Spencer's two-run shot in the fifth made it 6-2 and chased Oklahoma starter Kelsey Stevens (37-9).
Florida 11, Baylor 0 (5 inns.): Hannah Rogers threw a complete-game three-hit shutout as the fifth-seeded Gators routed No. 13 seed Baylor.
Rogers (27-8) threw her fourth shutout of the postseason for the Gators, who have won six of their seven NCAA tournament games this season by shutout. The run-rule win over Baylor (47-15) was the third of the tournament for Florida (51-12).
A two-run double by Bailey Castro staked Florida to a 3-0 lead after one inning against Baylor starter Whitney Canion (31-11). Kirsti Merritt hit a solo home run in the fourth for Florida, and pinch hitter Chelsea Herndon capped the game with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the fifth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.