SAN DIEGO, California— The Oregon Ducks finally found their offensive groove Friday, hammering out sixteen hits, five for extra bases including three home runs, in an 11-5 spanking of the Anteaters of UC-Irvine in the opening game of the 2017 Tony Gwynn Classic.
Things didn’t look so good in the early going for the Ducks (3-2), as UCI (3-2) plated three runs in the bottom half of the first inning off of Oregon starter junior David Peterson (1-1) to take a 3-0 lead. The Ducks would strike back in the top of the fourth to tie the game, thanks to a solo home run by junior catcher Tim Susnara, and a two-run shot by junior shortstop Daniel Patzlaff, which was enough to chase Anteater starter Andre Pallante from the game.
Oregon would tack on three more runs in the fifth courtesy of an RBI single by freshman DH Gabe Matthews, an RBI double from freshman third baseman Spencer Speer, and an RBI sacrifice fly from Patzlaff. UC-Irvine would pull within a run in the bottom of the inning thanks to a two-run home run off the bat of shortstop Mikey Duarte, but this would close out the scoring for the Anteaters, as the Ducks pitching shut down UCI’s offense for the remainder of the game.
The Ducks broke the game open in the seventh, scoring four more runs, including an RBI single from Susnara, and a two-run home run from Speer. Oregon would add one final run to their total in the ninth, courtesy of an RBI sacrifice fly from Speer. Speer would finish his night 2-4 with a double, a home run, and four of the Ducks’ ten runs batted in.
Despite his shaky start, Peterson settled in and wound up pitching six workmanlike innings, giving up five runs, four of which were earned, and striking out five without a walk on his way to his first victory of the young season. Freshman reliever James Acuna came in and pitched a scoreless seventh, and senior Connor Zwetsch pitched two perfect innings to close things out for the Ducks.
Due to inclement weather in the San Diego area, the tournament has had to do a bit of shuffling, leaving the Ducks to play two games tomorrow. In the first game, Oregon will play the Seton Hall Pirates at 10:00 am, and then play the host University of San Diego Toreros at 6:00 pm.