FRESNO, California— After being thumped Saturday night in the season opener, the Ducks managed a split of rounds two and three of the four-game series with Fresno State on a cool and damp Sunday, losing the first game 8-3, but rebounding in the nightcap for a 13-1 victory.
Whereas bad pitching did in the Ducks Saturday night, bad defense sunk Oregon in the first game Sunday, as the team bumbled and fumbled their way to SIX errors, leading to three unearned runs for the Bulldogs. The Ducks were once again forced to go to their bullpen early, as sophomore starter Matt Mercer (0-1) was only able to go three-and-a-third innings before being lifted by coach George Horton for freshman reliever Zack Noll. Noll gave up three runs on four hits in his three innings of work before giving way to sophomore Ryne Nelson, who pitched a scoreless final inning-and-two-thirds in a mop-up role.
Fresno State received a strong effort from their number two starter Rickey Ramirez (1-0), who went six innings, allowing only three runs on four hits while striking out six. Relievers Ryan Jensen and Dominic Topoozian combined to pitch three scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Ducks took a 3-1 lead in the top of the third inning thanks to a three-run homer off the bat of redshirt sophomore right fielder Slade Heggen, however Fresno State retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning with three runs of their own. The Bulldogs tacked on four more runs in a sloppy seventh inning for the Ducks for the final margin of victory. Due to Oregon’s miscues, Fresno State managed to plate their eight runs with only one extra base hit— a double—credited to the team.
In the second game, the Ducks took advantage of wildness on the part of the Bulldog pitchers, collecting EIGHTEEN walks and nine hits in a 13-1 romp.
Oregon finally got a stellar starting pitching performance, as sophomore Cole Stringer (1-0) went seven innings, allowing only one run on six hits and striking out eight. Senior Connor Zwetsch pitched a perfect eighth and ninth in a non-save situation.
Fresno State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a run-scoring double by first baseman Aaron Arruda, but would not score again. Oregon finally got on the board with three runs in the fourth, chasing Bulldog starter Fred Schlichtholz (0-1), who gave up five of the eighteen free passes amassed by the Ducks. Oregon would tack on single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and four each in the seventh and ninth, all with the benefit of but one extra-base hit— a double off the bat of freshman DH Kenyon Yovan, who also drove in three runs for the game. Fresno State would use seven pitchers in all, including outfielder Austin Guibor in the ninth. Ironically, Guibor was the lone Bulldog pitcher to not give up a walk to the Ducks.
Oregon (1-2) finishes up the four-game series with Fresno State (2-1) on Monday, with the first pitch slated for 6:05 pm.