Oregon Ducks Baseball:Gold shines as Ducks capture Pac-12 opener

Jake Tabor

The starter fanned 6 en route to a solid performance against the Trojans which saw him shut down the opposition in the middle innings.

Oregon got their scoring out of the way early on as they tallied 5 of their 7 runs in the first two innings against USC, Sunday afternoon. Oregon took the series with their opening barrage and cruised to a 7-2 win over the Trojans.

The Ducks were able to jump on the scoreboard first as Bobby Stahel played a hard shot by Aaron Payne poorly allowing Payne to round and get into third with a stand-up triple. Austin Grebeck laid down a bunt and Payne beat the throw in to the plate to give the Ducks and early 1-0 lead.

They poured it on more in the second as the Ducks started their rally in a familiar way. Nick Catalano walked with one down and eventually scored as Mark Karaviotis laid one down and much like the first run Oregon scored, Catalano beat the throw to the plate.

Tyler Baumgartner would follow up with a high pop up to center which missed the glove of Timmy Robinson, bringing three Ducks in to score on the double. The Ducks would chase Kyle Twomey off the mound in just 2.1 innings pitched but would struggle with reliever Jeff Paschke.

Pachke threw 4.1 and did not allow a hit in his appearance before a walk came back to bite the Trojans in the seventh allowing Oregon's sixth run of the game.

Jeff Gold had another strong performance going 6.2 and striking out six. In the middle of his performance, Gold retired 15 consecutive batters and the only real blemish was in the seventh when he allowed a pair of runs to come around.

Gold was straightforward when asked about what he liked about his performance.

"I didn't walk anybody so that was cool," said Gold, "I hate walking people. I mean, we're pitchers. We're supposed to execute throwing strikes. I'm trying to practice what I preach."

A negative to today's game was the 15 game hit streak by Kyle Garlick came to a close as he only found base by way of a walk in the third. With the streak though, he holds the longest hitting streak since the program was reinstated.

Coach Horton was pleased with the series win. While it's not ideal, taking a series in the conference is always a big deal.

"This is a league that if you win 2 out of 3 every single weekend, you look up you're probably going to be right in the race for the conference," said Horton.

Oregon next hosts the Utah Utes who have been dwelling in the cellar of the conference since they joined. If Oregon does anything but come away with a sweep against the Utes it could spell trouble for a program with high expectations.

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