Through the first four innings, tonight's game between thet Lions and Ducks was shaping up to be a pitchers duel between Loyola Marymount sophomore Cole Welmon and Oregon's Jake Reed.
A lead off triple by Lions' outfielder Zac Fujimoto in top of the fifth inning and a subsequent error by freshman Josh Graham on a routine play at home gave Loyola Marymount all they needed on a soggy opening night at P.K. Park, as they defeated Oregon 5-1 in the first of a three-game series.
"I'm not gonna lie and say that it wasn't a crucial play and a big play," Reed said of the play at home. "It would have been big with the lead-off triple to get that out at home and have a runner on first with an out, but that's no excuse. I think I could have made a few better pitches in the rest of that inning too, maybe minimized it a little more."
Welmon held up his end of the bargain for Loyola Marymount, throwing six innings of shut-out baseball, giving up only four hits while striking out nine over the course of his night. The Ducks never posed a serious threat to the right-hander, or the Lions in general.
"We were uncharacteristically inefficient offensively, but tip your cap to Welmon, he did a good job." Oregon head coach George Horton said. "Coach Ricabal kept us off stride, seemed like every time he needed a key pitch, he went to his off-speed stuff, his change."
Outfielder Scott Heineman was Oregon's offensive force, going 3-3 with an RBI and two walks. The rest of the Ducks could only manage two hits combined against the Lions' impressive pitching staff. Shortstop J.J. Altobelli reached base all four times he came to the plate, but got hit by the ball more than he hit the it.
"I don't know if I saw anything different, Heineman said. "I just got in good counts early in the ball game and just tried to put a good swing on it and just battle. We'll bounce back tomorrow, those guys do the same thing."
The Ducks briefly made a stab at a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, plating a run and getting runners on the corners with one out and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week Ryon Healy at the plate. Reliever Sean Buckle got Healy out in front of a change up and coaxed him into a 6-3 unassisted double play.
"To me, the story of the game [was] they maximized their offense and put some things together while we were real sporadic," Horton said.
The Ducks and Lions play the second game of their series in Eugene at 2 P.M. on Saturday afternoon, with streaming available through Goducks.com