Oregon Ducks Baseball Vs. Rice Owls : Owls early Outburst too much for Ducks

Rice scored 7 runs in the first three innings en route to an 11-4 victory over Oregon.

As George Horton had stated the previous night, "momentum is only as good as your next day's starter." Jake Reed got shelled early and Rice put 7 runs on the board in the first three innings. Zech Lemond was not dazzling but was effective over 6.2 as he stymied Oregon's rallies and kept the Ducks at bay throughout the game. "Jake [Reed] was out of character. We had some good bullets. Unfortunately they just didn't do what they did all year long...we got stunned." Coach Horton said on his starting pitching and the general performance. Rice held an 8-3 lead through much of the game as Shane Hoelscher and freshman Hunter Kopycinski combined for 7 hits and 7 RBIs.

Rice showed their resiliency early bouncing back from an 11-0 shelacking the day before. With two on, Shane Holscher hit a bases clearing triple and would score himself on a missed throw to third putting Oregon in an early 3-0 hole. The Ducks were fortunate early as Aaron Payne's lead off pop up found the turf in front of a diving Hoelscher and would come around to score on a Ryon Healy single. Things looked to be turning in the Ducks favor when a Rice fielding mishap would allow Healy to score as Mitchell Tolman beat a run down between first and second. The Ducks had new life only down 3-2 but the Owls would not stop there.

Rice burned through Oregon's pitching staff as the Ducks sent 4 different pitchers to the mound in the first 5 innings. Jake Reed surrendered 4 hits and a walk, facing just 10 batters before getting lifted for a largely ineffective Christian Jones. Jones wouldn't last an inning as he gave up another two runs. The Oregon defense wouldn't put a zero on the Rice side of the scoreboard until the fourth inning and by then the game was already out of reach, despite Oregon adding a run in the third inning.

The Ducks would chip away at the lead in the seventh as Tyler Baumgartner singled in Connor Hofmann to cut the lead to 8-4 but Ryon Healy's pop out would end the scoring threat. Rice would strike again for three more runs in the top of the ninth off of Jimmie Sherfy featuring a triple from Hunter Kopycinski and a double from Ford Stainback to levy the final score of 11-4 but by that point, most of the Oregon fans had already found their way to the exits.

Losing in the regional is disappointing for a team with a national seed. This wasn't one of those games where Oregon just failed to hit the ball. They struck for 9 hits and 4 runs but as the pitching went, so did this team. The Ducks played sloppy early and the early deficit was too much for the Ducks to overcome What is important to remember is Oregon has a lot of youth on this squad and have made great strides for a young program. Coach Horton was optimistic about the future even in the face of defeat, "We're going to go to Omaha sooner or later. The names will be different, but this program is going to Omaha and I'm going to be the coach."

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