EUGENE, Oregon— The beleaguered Oregon Ducks, losers of five in a row, managed to take two of three from the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils this weekend, winning the first game 2-0 behind one of the greatest pitching performances in Oregon history courtesy of David Peterson; losing the second game on a bang-bang play at the plate Saturday 4-3; and taking the rubber match of the series Sunday by the score of 3-2.
On Friday, junior lefty Peterson had a Game for the Ages, pitching a complete-game, four-hit shutout, while striking out a school record 20 batters to run his record to 9-2. Peterson was dominant all evening, but a bit of drama unfolded in the top of the ninth, when Sun Devil centerfielder Andrew Shaps ripped a double to right center to lead off the inning, bringing the tying run to the plate. After a visit to the mound by head coach George Horton, Peterson settled back into his groove and struck out the next three ASU batters to preserve the shutout and seal the victory.
VIDEO | Incredible effort on the mound by David Peterson as he strikes out 20 in a complete game shutout of ASU! https://t.co/Y7p3b7QEDF— Oregon Duck Baseball (@OregonBaseball) April 29, 2017
His efforts have garnered him a bit of national attention, as you might expect:
The offensive star of the game, as it were, was freshman rightfielder Matthew Dyer, who drove in freshman third baseman Spencer Steer with a bunt single in the fourth for what turned out to be the winning run for the Ducks.
Eder Erives (0-2) was the hard-luck loser for the Sun Devils, and pitched superbly in his own right, giving up only two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out four and walking three in going the distance.
In game two Saturday, the Ducks lost a heartbreaker 4-3, as Matthew Dyer, representing the tying run, was tagged out at home trying to score from third on a wild pitch. Oregon managed to rack up eleven hits and seven walks off of four ASU pitchers, but continued their hard-luck ways, managing only three runs while leaving nine base runners stranded.
After a strong start to the season sophomore right hander Matt Mercer (5-4), lost his third game in a row, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out five and walking one in his five-and-a-third innings of work. Righties junior Brac Warren, and seniors Connor Zwetsch and Cooper Stiles pitched the remaining three-and-two-thirds innings, combining to give up two runs on three hits while striking out four and walking one.
While the Ducks were able to clout the aforementioned eleven base hits, none remarkably, were for extra bases. Junior catcher Tim Susnara managed the lone multi-hit game for Oregon, going 2-3 with a run scored and two walks. ASU second baseman Taylor Lane was the offensive standout, hitting a pair of solo home runs, one off starter Mercer, one off reliever Warren, and went 2-4 for the game with two RBI and two runs scored. Eli Lingos (6-3) picked up the win for the Sun Devils, pitching a solid six-and-two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking three. Sam Ferri pitched the final two outs to pick up the save, his first of the season.
On Sunday afternoon, Oregon once again managed eleven base hits off of ASU pitching, once again managed only three runs, but solid pitching by starter Cole Stringer and closer Kenyon Yovan kept the Sun Devils to only two, as Oregon took the rubber match of the series 3-2.
After a series of shaky outings, the sophomore lefty Stringer (4-1) authored his best start in almost two months, giving up only one run on three hits while striking out three without issuing a walk in his five-and-two-thirds innings of work. Righty senior Cooper Stiles relieved, and after giving up a lead off home run in the seventh to ASU right fielder Hunter Bishop, Oregon coach George Horton brought in his flame-throwing closer, right handed freshman Kenyon Yovan, who proceeded to earn what is a rarity in today’s game— a three-inning save.
Yovan was outstanding, giving up only two hits in his three scoreless innings, while striking out two and walking one in earning his PAC-12 Conference-leading thirteenth save on the season.
Chaz Montoya (4-3) took the loss for ASU, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out one and walking four in four-and-a-third innings.
Redshirt senior center fielder Jake Bennett led the Ducks’ offensively, going 2-5 for the game with a two-run double, which turned out to be the game winner:
In taking two-of-three from ASU, the Ducks (25-14, 8-10) ended the weekend alone in sixth place in the tough PAC-12, with just under a third of the season to go. Arizona State fell to 19-22 overall, and 6-12 in conference play, placing them in a three-way tie with USC and Washington State in the PAC-12 cellar.
The Ducks will once again attempt to get a game in with the #1-ranked Oregon State Beavers Tuesday, as Oregon travels to Goss Stadium in Corvallis for the midweek tilt. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 pm, weather depending.