It was a beautiful day at PK Park on Saturday afternoon for the second game of the three game series against UC Riverside. The Ducks seemed to slip away towards the end of the game; however, they were able to pull themselves together and ended up winning 7-4.
Jeff Gold, Oregon’s starting pitcher for Saturday, started out the game strong with two strikeouts in the first inning. Gold pitched 6.1 innings and gave up nine hits with five strikeouts and no walks before getting replaced in the 7th inning by Darrell Hunter, who was later replaced by Garrett Cleavinger. Gold is 8-0 after Saturday’s victory.
The Ducks got off to a good start against the Highlanders. In the first two innings, the Ducks scored five runs, which made the score 5-1 at the end of the 2nd inning. The Highlanders changed pitchers for Oregon’s next bat in the 3rd inning by replacing Zach Valera with Dylan Stuart.
Mitchell Tolman discussed their tactics on getting starters out early in the game, “Trying to make them throw a lot of pitches; foul off more pitches that they throw; and just get them out as soon as we can.”
While Valera was pitching, the Ducks scored the majority of their points, especially during the 2nd inning. Nick Catalano hit a single. Desmond Santos was able to get onto first after the Highlanders made a throwing error. Mark Karaviotis grounded as a sacrifice to advance Santos onto second base and Payne followed with a double allowing both Santos and Catalano to score, making the score 4-1. Later in the inning Mitchell Tolman hit a single, which allowed Payne to score, making the score 5-1.
The Highlanders scored four points while Gold was pitching and Oregon’s bats weren’t much help while UCR was scoring.
“They got some wonky hits,” said Gold, “and I mean they found holes. What’re you going to do?”
The Ducks weren’t able to score again until the 7th inning and lucky for them Cleavinger made sure that the Highlanders didn’t score either.
“Our bullpen is pretty dominant,” said Tolman. “After the last couple weekends I think they’re by far the best in the country.”
In the 7th inning, Mitchell Tolman hit a single up the middle. Kyle Garlick followed by producing a double to left center field, allowing Tolman to score making the score 6-4.
“I thought the two runs that we got in the seventh and eighth were critical so that we could extend and make it a little easier,” said Coach George Horton.
Karaviotis’ triple in the eighth inning combined with A.J. Balta’s double allowed Karaviotis to score in the eighth inning, making the final score 7-4.
The Ducks play UC Riverside for the third and final game of their three-game series on Sunday at 12 p.m. Trent Paddon will start for the Oregon.