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Oregon comes up short, falling to #12 Oregon State 2-1 in Civil War series following Portland win

Photo courtesy of goducks.com

Ducks (26-24) drop Civil War series, splitting their last four as Oregon heads down the home-stretch of their regular season schedule. Just weeks before regionals, Oregon looks to be on the outside looking in with little time left to make-up ground.

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Portland

Ducks 4 - Pilots 1

Oregon snaps four-game losing streak in their first game back in Eugene following a lengthy road trip. Freshman led the Ducks to victory in a much-needed win against the Portland Pilots.

Head coach, George Horton gave the lineup a well-deserved shake-up after the gruesome series against Arizona. Freshman Kyle Froemke got his first career start at shortstop, moving Spencer Steer to third where he played primarily as an underclassman. Fellow freshman James Bell made his first career start at catcher and Vinny Tosti was inserted as DH. Whether it’s a scare tactic by Horton to wake up his team, or not, five freshman started against the Pilots and the results were beneficial.

It took late inning heroics to come out of PK Park with the win, but it was Oregon’s pitching that kept their offense in the game. Six Ducks pitchers kept Portland nearly scoreless. Righty sophomore Brett Walker got the start on the mound. Walker wasn’t out very long, getting replaced by redshirt junior, Cole Stringer after 3.0 innings of scoreless baseball. The lone run allowed in the game was by Stringer in the 5th, on an RBI ground-out. He also contributed this little beauty, flashing the leather to end the inning.

Freshman right-fielder Tanner Smith gave Oregon their first run of the day hitting a single to left field in the third, scoring second baseman and fellow freshman, Sam Novitske.

Portland tied up the game in the 5th, but Novitske came through in the bottom of the 8th to take the lead back for the Ducks. With men in scoring position thanks to an error by Portland’s catcher, Dutton Elske, Novitske singled up the left side bringing both runners across the plate.

Ducks’ first baseman Gabe Matthews later followed up Oregon’s leadoff batter with a single up the middle to center, scoring Novitske for the second time.

Novitske led Oregon’s offense finishing his night 2-3 with 2 RBI’s, a walk and 2 runs scored. Smith (1-3) and Matthews (1-4) both added an RBI, while many of Oregon’s bats fell silent in the single-game matchup. The win at home snaps a four-game losing skid before facing Oregon State at home in a three-game conference series at PK Park.

Chase, K. (W, 4-1) 1.0 IP, O ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K

Tellache, N. (S, 6) 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K

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#12 Oregon State

Ducks 1 - Beavers 4

The boxscore got flipped around following the win against Portland earlier in the week. Game 1 of the Civil War matchup against #12 Oregon State Beavers didn’t go in favor of the Ducks as third baseman Spencer Steer shines back at his old position.

OSU got out to a fairly large lead early. Beavers’ shortstop, Beau Philip was impatient at the plate, putting Oregon State on the board with a lead off home run to left on the second pitch of the game.

The bottom of Oregon State’s order put up two runs on back-to-back-to-back hits in the 2nd inning. OSU’s Preston Jones doubled down the left field line. Center-fielder, Kyler McMahan followed up with a double of his own to left-center scoring Jones. Third baseman Andy Armstrong drove in the second run of the inning with a single to center field, pushing their lead to 3-0 heading into the bottom of the inning.

Beavers’ first baseman Ryan Ober added the fourth run after Spencer Steer made a phenomenal play at third, holding OSU to just a run and grounding Ober into a double-play.

The four runs by the end of the 3rd inning were enough for the Beavers however, as the Ducks could only muster up a single run in the game. The lone run came off the bat of Steer who played phenomenal at his former position.

Steer finished the game 3-4 including a double, RBI single and a couple of ESPN’s Top 10 worthy web-gem.

Redshirt senior Jakob Goldfarb, 2-3 with a walk, was the only other Duck to accumulate multiple hits on the night.

Lefty sophomore, Robert Ahlstrom, perhaps Oregon’s most consistent threat on the mound, struggled through the first three innings, but found his grove shortly there-after. The hurler put together the longest outing by a UO pitcher this season throwing 8.1 innings of work. Sophomore, Brett Walker replaced Ahlstrom with two outs remaining in the top of the 9th. Walker shut the door on the Beavers giving Oregon one final, yet unsuccessful attempt to put a rally together falling to Oregon State.

Ahlstrom, B. (L, 5-5) 8.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 K

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#12 Oregon State

Ducks 5 - Beavers 8

Oregon’s top of the order carried the Ducks in game 2 of the Civil War, just not far enough to get them past the #12 ranked Beavers. Novitske, Smith and Steer, Oregon’s 1-2-3 hitters combined for 7 hits, 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored in the loss at PK Park that hosted 4,130 fans. The third largest attendance record in the Park’s history.

OSU took an early lead once again in the series. With runners at first and second OSU’s Ober doubled to right-center scoring DH Alex McGarry for the first run of the game. Right-fielder, Tyler Malone added the last two runs of the inning with a single up the middle bringing home both runners in scoring position.

Right-fielder, Tanner Smith responded quickly in the bottom of the 1st with the only home run of the game; a solo shot to give the game a 3-1 score.

Steer tightened-up the margin for the first time in game 2 during the 3rd with a single to left, scoring Novitske from second for a 5-2 game.

Starting pitching struggled to begin the game for Oregon. Right-hander, Cullen Kafka was pulled after giving up 5 runs, on 8 hits and 5 walks in just 2.1 innings of work. Junior left-hander, Cole Stringer replaced Kafka in the 3rd and allowed only 1 earned run. OSU scored 2 unearned runs in the 5th due to an error by shortstop Kyle Froemke that scored a runner and left a man on 3rd.

Steer closed the margin once again with a double down the left field line scoring both Smith and Froemke to make it 7-4 OSU.

The renewed third baseman continues his ascent into the UO record books. Steer tied Ryon Healy for second all-time in OU history with 118 RBI’s. The 34th multi-RBI game of his career gives him the school record for most multi-RBI games in a career. In addition, first baseman Gabe Matthews made his 136th straight starts, most in school history.

Smith and Novitske had solid nights of their own, even in the loss. Novitske went 2-4 with a run scored, while Smith went 3-5 with a HR and 2 runs scored. Unfortunately, the effort by the top of the Ducks’ order wasn’t enough to bring home the victory for the nearly record-setting number of fans in attendance for Saturday’s game.

Kafka, C. (L, 5-5) 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 WP

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#12 Oregon State

Ducks 3 - Beavers 2

Ducks steal the last game of the Civil War series to avoid the sweep at home against OSU on some rather backwards pitching.

With Oregon’s bullpen depleted from the heavy workload over the past couple weeks, head coach, George Horton sent a text to junior right-hander Ryne Nelson the night before; saying, he was going to go to him early and ride it out with the junior right-hander as long as possible. Luckily for Horton, Nelson answered his call.

Horton was true to his word and went to Nelson after just 2.2 innings between sophomores Brett Walker and Kolby Somers. Neither pitcher gave up a run throughout their time on the mound, but it was evident that Horton had a plan and he was sticking to it.

Nelson entered in the 3rd with a 3-0 lead behind him and never looked back. The junior closed out the game allowing an RBI single in the 6th and a solo homer from OSU’s McGarry. Other than the two blemishes on his day, Nelson was lights-out, striking out 12 OSU batter. Things got a little heated when Oregon State asked umpires to check a dark spot on Nelson’s hat for a possible illegal substance, but found nothing. That didn’t shake the junior’s confidence as he would go on to strike out the side, including potential first-overall pick in the draft, Adley Rutschman.

The Duck’s batting order were able to help Nelson early with the aforementioned, and uncommon as of late, 3-0 lead. The heart of the Ducks’ order produced and this time, it was enough to carry them across the finish-line. Steer put the first runs on the board with an RBI double in the 1st to left-center. Scoring Smith from first in the process.

Center-fielder, Jonny DeLuca, who’s been dead-silent all series going 0-8 in the first two games, came to play in game 3. Immediately following Steer’s double in the first, DeLuca hits a single of his own through the left side, scoring Steer.

With two outs in the 2nd inning the top of the Ducks’ order clutched-up. Smith singled up the right side. Steer followed up with a walk advancing Smith into scoring position for the Ducks’ center-fielder. DeLuca, like Nelson, answered the call, driving a single to right-center scoring Smith from second. Giving Nelson the cushion needed to seal the final game of the series.

Nelson, R. (W, 3-4) 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 12 K, 1 IBB

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STATE OF THE PAC

#1 UCLA (41-8-0) / Conf. (19-5-0)

#3 Stanford (37-9-0) / Conf. (19-5-0)

#11 Oregon State (33-15-1) / Conf. (19-5-0)

Arizona State (35-14-0) / Conf. (14-10-0)

California (29-17-0) / Conf. (14-10-0)

Washington (27-19-0) / Conf. (12-12-0)

Arizona (24-24-0) / Conf. (12-14-0)

USC (20-26-1) / Conf. (9-13-1)

Oregon (26-24-0) / Conf. (9-15-0)

Utah (12-31-0) / Conf. (4-23-0)

Washington State (10-36-1) / Conf. (2-21-1)

*Rankings determined by Pac-12.com and D1Baseball.com Top 25

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DUCK OF THE WEEK

Is it too obvious that it’s Spencer Steer again?

After moving back to his former position at third base, Steer seems even more comfortable and settled in on the field and at the dish. Besides showing off his glove and defensive prowess, Steer finished the weekend 7-14 (.500) with 3 doubles, 5 RBI’s, a run scored. Steer strung together 3 multi-hit games against the #12 ranked Beavers and is well on his way to finish his junior year as one of the greatest hitters in the school’s history.

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On Deck:

USC (20-26-1)