The return of Oregon baseball also marked the return to the mound for Cole Irvin after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he did not disappoint, setting the tone before the Ducks’ bats exploded in the sixth inning en route to a 12-0 win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in Honolulu.
While Oregon's pitching was stellar, the offense stole the show with 12 runs on 12 hits while the Rainbow Warriors were shutout and struggled both offensively and defensively with just four hits and six errors.
Irvin delivered a stellar outing for the Ducks, going four innings and giving up just two hits while striking out four, including the first two batters he faced. Horton said Irvin would be on a restricted pitch count (around 40-45) while he eases back from surgery. Horton pulled Irvin from the game after 43 pitches.
The Ducks, who are opening their season in Hawaii for the fifth straight season, have now won 12 straight games over the Rainbow Warriors dating back to 2012 when Hawaii defeated the Ducks 4-1 to open the year.
Hawaii starter Tyler Brashears went 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits, including four extra-base hits.
Already leading 3-0 heading into the sixth inning, Oregon scored seven runs on four hits and one error to take control of the game, capped off with a two-run homer to left field off the bat of Jakob Goldfarb in an identical location to the home run hit by Matt Eureste on the second pitch of the game.
Oregon took advantage of a pair of errors by Hawaii in the top of the second to extend their lead to 2-0. After an error and a fielders choice moved Carson Brashears into scoring position, a seemingly routine throw by Alex Sawelson sailed over the head of Eric Ramirez, allowing Brashears to score with ease.
In the top of the fourth, Oregon tacked on another run when Jonathan Weeks misplayed a ball off the bat of Phil Craig-St. Louis, a JC transfer from Seminole State College, allowing Brandon Cuddy to score from second base. Craig-St. Louis got greedy and tried to stretch it out to a triple but was thrown out. Craig-St. Louis had a big debut for the Ducks, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
After a leadoff double by Mitchell Tolman in the top of the sixth, Brandon Cuddy laced an RBI triple to center field, easily scoring Tolman from second base. Cuddy finished the night going 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and an RBI. A single from Phil Craig-St. Louis brought in Cuddy to put Oregon ahead 5-0. The Ducks added another run off a wild pitch from Alex Hatch.
Oregon would tack on two more runs with the bases loaded after Hawaii’s fifth error of the night while they attempted to turn a double play. The offensive explosion continued as Jakob Goldfarb hit a home run to left field to make it 10-0.
Phil Craig-St. Louis added his third RBI of the night with a single up the middle in the top of the seventh to put Oregon ahead 11-0. Josh Graham delivered a pinch-hit RBI single up the middle in the ninth to cap off a big night at the plate for the Ducks
Conor Harber came on in relief for Irvin to deliver a stellar outing, going the final five innings, giving up just one hit while striking out two batters.
The Ducks will look to continue their hot start to the season at the plate tomorrow afternoon in the second game of the four-game series with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM PT.