EUGENE, Oregon— The Ducks got a second straight strong pitching performance from their starter, but Saturday the bullpen let Oregon down as Mississippi State scored late to take the second game of the three game series, 5-4 at PK Park.
Sophomore right-hander Matt Mercer pitched six solid innings, allowing only two runs on six hits while striking out four. He did not figure in the decision. The game was tied at three going into the eighth, but senior reliever Connor Zwetsch (0-1) gave up two runs on four hits to the Bulldogs to seal the Ducks’ fate. Oregon managed to tack on a run in the ninth off of MSU reliever Riley Self (2-0), but closer Spencer Price came in with men on first and second and struck out freshman catcher Matthew Dyer to end the game and pick up his second save of the season.
Oregon (5-4) took an early lead in the second inning, getting an RBI single from junior shortstop Daniel Patzlaff, and an RBI double off the bat of junior catcher Tim Susnara. Mississippi State (7-4) picked up a run in the top of the third courtesy of an RBI double from second baseman Luke Alexander, but the Ducks would pick up a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a double from redshirt junior left fielder A.J. Balta, and an RBI single from Dyer.
The Bulldogs would tie the score in the sixth, thanks to a two RBI single by catcher Josh Lovelady, and a costly throwing error by Oregon rightfielder Dyer. Lovelady would pace the MSU attack, going 2-4 with two RBI. For the Ducks, Dyer and Tim Susnara each went 2-4 in the game with an RBI, but combined to leave seven of the eleven baserunners stranded by the team.
The two teams will meet in the rubber match Sunday at PK Park, first pitch scheduled for 12:00 pm.