RIVERSIDE, California— Spot starter Zack Noll tossed a no-no through five, and Gabe Matthews hit a two-run home run as the Ducks, despite some late-game heroics by the home team, managed to put away the Highlanders of UC-Riverside 10-6.
Noll, the freshman from nearby Temecula made just his fourth start of the season, but what a start it was. The rangy left hander blanked UC-Riverside (21-30), allowing just two walks while striking out seven in his five innings of no-hit ball. The seven strikeouts marked a season high for Noll (2-2). A trio of relievers (freshman right hander James Acuna, senior righty Connor Zwetsch, junior left hander Jesse Hobaica) pitched the final four innings, and despite a shaky outing by Hobaica, who gave up four runs including a three-run home run to Highlander third baseman Colby Schultz in his inning of work, Oregon (29-23) was never really challenged in matching their overall win total from a year ago.
The game featured a well-balanced effort from Oregon’s offense, as four players had multi-hit games, led by freshman third baseman Spencer Steer who went 2-5 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored, and freshman first baseman Gabe Matthews, who also went 2-5, with a two-run home run and two runs scored.
Matt Hardy (0-1) started and took the loss for the Highlanders, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits while walking one. A quartet of relievers followed in damage control mode, but their resistance was futile, as the Ducks enjoyed their best offensive output in over a month.
The Ducks return home to Eugene for their final regular season series of 2017 against the Bruins of UCLA Thursday, with first pitch from PK Park scheduled for 6:00 pm.
Game notes: Junior shortstop Kyle Kasser also had a two-hit game, raising his season’s average to a robust .350, good for sixth overall in the PAC-12 Conference... Kasser is also tied for third in the conference with 71 hits.