Oregon’s second game of their two-game series with the San Francisco Dons was everything that their first game was not. Whereas yesterday’s game was essentially over after the first inning, this afternoon’s game was a tense one that went 11 innings - and should have gone longer if you disagreed with the call that ended the game.
The opening of the game featured starters Scott Ellis of the Ducks against Adam Shew for SF.
The first inning went scoreless; the Dons started by having a batter get hit by a pitch and then the next batter walked, but SF busted out an aggressive third base steal that was an out, bookended by a fly out and a strikeout. Oregon got two runners on base on fielding errors and could not capitalize, hitting into a double play and a ground out to end the scoreless 1st.
San Francisco drew first blood in the second inning, when - after Ellis walked a batter - Nick Votevich sent a home run to right field, scoring both. After Ellis retired the side, the Oregon bats continued to be quiet, with the entire Duck batting order being kept in check with no hits.
The Ducks opened the third inning by relieving Ellis with Andrew Mosiello, who made his first appearance of the season after being sidelined with a back injury. In the bottom, after Bryce Boettcher walked, a Tanner Smith fly out advanced Boettcher to second. Colby Shade walked, and the Ducks had runners on first and third. Brennan Milone busted a long single that scored Boettcher and put runners on first and third. After Shade was out on a fielder’s choice, a Josh Kasevich single to center sent Milone home and that would be it for Oregon scoring. The Dons brought in Lance Santerre to relive their starter, and he picked up the last out with the game tied at 2-2.
Oregon relieved Mosiello with Caleb Sloan, and Sloan fanned two batters in making quick work in the top of the fourth. Santerre also went 1-2-3 against the Ducks, ending the inning with the score unchanged. Sloan did great work in the fifth as well, putting down SF in order. Meanwhile, after allowing an Oregon walk, the Dons brought in reliever Jonah Jenkins, who kept the Ducks quiet through the seventh inning. In the sixth inning, Logan Mercado came on the mound to relieve Sloan, but allowed a couple of hits that put the Dons up by one, 3-2. The Ducks relieved Mercado with Dylan Sabia and Sabia did reasonably well in holding off SF for 1 1⁄3 innings, when he was replaced by Matt Dallas.
Matt Dallas then pitched masterfully, keeping the Dons off the board while Oregon attempted to rally and come back. In the bottom of the ninth inning, SF’s attempts to close the game with a win were thwarted after giving up singles to Kasevich and Anthony Hall. Sam Novitske walked, and the Ducks had a bases-loaded situation with no outs. Josiah Cromwick hit into a double play, but that was enough to score Kasevich and keep Oregon in the game, going into extra innings. The Dons brought on Oscar Lepe for relief, and Lepe quieted the rest of the Oregon batting order. Lepe kept Oregon in check in the tenth as well.
Dallas closed out the SF batters in the 11th, and lead the Ducks into one of the strangest game endings in recent memory. Kasevich opened up with a strong double to the left field corner, and Hall walked, putting runners on first and second. After a Novitske K, Cromwick grounded out to the shortstop, who threw him out at first and allowed the base runners to advance. Gavin Grant singled to the second baseman, who might have thrown the out in time to end the inning, but the first base umpire ruled it safe, and Oregon scratched out the win.
Was Grant safe? If you’re a Don, you might have a case for having this game taken away from you by the officials. It was very close and looked like a tie, but I would have liked to see a replay of it. That’s water under the bridge, though, and Oregon comes out on top with their midweek sweep of San Francisco.
Matt Dallas (2-1) came out with a well deserved win, and Oscar Lepe (0-1) was left to eat the loss. In facing 11 batters in 3.2 innings, Dallas allowed no hitters and really sealed Oregon’s bullpen effort today.
Brennan Milone continues with his batting prowess, bringing in clutch plays when needed, and even though he went 1-5, he ended with one hit, one run, and one RBI. Josh Kasevich was the star today, going 3-5 with two runs and one RBI.
Although the Oregon Ducks have punched through 8 games this season with 10+ runs, they obviously can’t keep that up. The offensive strength of the Ducks is being shown up and down the batting order, where if a batter isn’t having a good night, there’s four others that are, and is showing in the fact that this week the Ducks have been in the #1-2 spot in team batting average in the nation.