Oregon splits four-game Nike College Showcase

Oregon ten game winning streak--as well as their fortune in one run games--was snapped over the weekend as Oregon split the Nike College Showcase. The Ducks were able to shut out West Virginia and Connecticut, but lost one-run decisions to Illinois and Oklahoma.

Friday: Illinois 2, Oregon 1

Alex Keudell pitched a great game for the Ducks, allowing two runs and six hits over eight innings, but Oregon was only able to get five baserunners (4 hits and a walk) against Illinois pitcher Kevin Johnson, who pitched a complete game. Oregon took the lead in the second as Ryon Healy doubled home a run, but Illinois was able to get single runs in the 4th and 6th for the 2-1 victory.

Saturday: Oregon 12, West Virginia 0

Oregon clobbered the Mountaineers, who went winless in the tournament, in game one of the Saturday doubleheader. Jeff Gold, a slated midweek starter making his first start of the year, had an impressive performance on the mound, pitching the eight inning shutout (a ten-run rule was in place), allowing only four hits and striking out five while walking none.

The Ducks' offense exploded against WVU pitching, getting 15 hits and six walks. Among the hits were a grand slam by Aaron Jones, and a three run shot by Ryan Hambright. Kyle Garlick went 4-4, and Hambright and Healy had three hits each.

Saturday: Oklahoma 3, Oregon 2

Unfortunately, the offense was unable to keep its mojo against #22 Oklahoma, losing 3-2. Freshman Jake Reed had his fourth straight quality start to begin the season for the Ducks, giving up two runs (one earned) in 6 2/3. However, the offense could not take advantage of its many chances, leaving runners stranded at third in four separate innings.

Sunday: Oregon 4, Connecticut 0

The Ducks finished off the weekend with a shutout of Connecticut. Brando Tessar pitched the shutout, giving up only four hits, including none from the second through eighth innings. Oregon had nine hits and 13 total baserunners, as JJ Altobelli and Vernell Warren had two hits each, and Aaron Payne was twice hit by a pitch. Daniel Pardini also had a pinch hit home run in the ninth.

You certainly want to win series at home and not settle for a split, but given the level of competition, and the fact that Oregon has already swept two big series this season, this shouldn't really hurt the Ducks. Having had no gimme games on the early schedule, Oregon looks set to begin Pac-12 play as one of the most tested squads in the league.

Next Up: Oregon travels up I-5 to begin league play with a three game series at Washington. Happy I Hate Washington Week everybody!

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