Oregon Ducks Baseball: Opportunity knocks, Ducks don't answer

Jake Tabor

The Ducks strand 9 baserunners and can't get it going until late as they drop their first conference game.

When it came down to it, the Ducks simply could not execute when they had to against the Trojans, Friday night. USC scored two in the third and the game winning run in the 8th when a fly ball fell past Tyler Baumgartner's glove allowing the Trojans to plate the run from third giving them a 3-2 victory.

Oregon made a late push but it fell short as the Ducks left 9 runners on base. The Ducks come away with a loss despite outhitting the Trojans 8-5 in the game.

"It might look easy when you get a 7 run inning, but it's baseball. It's hard to come through every time. It wasn't about attitude, it wasn't about effort. We just didn't get it done," said coach George Horton.

USC broke a scoreless tie, thanks to a triple by Timmy Robinson scoring Garrett Stubbs from first. A sacrifice bunt from Kevin Swick would score Robinson on the squeeze to put USC up 2-0.

Oregon would respond in the 4th taking advantage of an error by the Trojans. After walking, Mitchell Tolman stole second on a failed hit and run but proceeded to third as the ball skipped into center field. Kyle Garlick would ground out to third but allow Tolman to plate the Ducks first run of the game.

Tommy Thorpe pitched well but ran into trouble in the 8th. Lead-off batter, Stubbs would take one for the team, getting to first the hard way before advancing to second on a passed ball. Thorpe's issues prompted Garrett Cleavinger to come on in relief.

He followed suit, hitting the first batter he faced. Blake Lacey laid down a sac bunt to advance the runners, setting the stage for the Trojans' winning run. Kevin Swick skied a fly ball middle deep to right and Tyler Baumgartner looked to be under it. The ball fell harmlessly to the turf and Stubbs scored on the error.

Oregon threatened late, with a two out rally in the 8th. Baumgartner got it started, finding a bit of redemption and eventually scored on Kyle Garlick's single to left center.

"We just weren't able to put good ABs together. We were probably chasing too much but we'll bounce back and learn from this," said Mitchell Tolman

The hit by Garlick ran his hitting streak to 14 consecutive games, tying the record since the program's reinstatement.

"I love filling the stats and all that, but I would have much rather had the win tonight," said Garlick.

Oregon would threaten in the bottom of the ninth with two on, but Austin Grebeck's grounder couldn't find a hole ending the threat and the game for the Ducks.

It's tough losing the first game of the series and now Oregon needs the next two to take their opening series with the Trojans. Tomorrow's start is at 2 PM as the Ducks look to even the series with the Trojans.

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