The Oregon Ducks did what they needed to do today, and after a sketchy first inning they completely obliterated the Arizona State Sun Devils, 15-5.
Jace Stoffal started today against Tyler Meyer. After a shaky first inning, and backup from the Oregon bats, Stoffal stayed in the game for the longest time in his career.
And boy, was that needed early on.
Oregon’s offense produced nothing in the first two innings. Stoffal got into some early trouble in the first and gave up an ASU run after allowing runners to take the corners. However, Stoffal would be stellar afterwards, and the Ducks went on a roll. In the bottom of the 1st, The Oregon defense limited anything the Sun Devils would offer.
Stoffal then kept the Sun Devils off the board.
In the third, Drew Cowley doubled when ASU lost the ball, and scored three.
Josh Kasevich then scored Cowley.
Stoffal had the cushion he needed, and did a great job at the mound. Oregon responded in the fourth, when Gavin Grant - who is the best 9th batter in the country (prove me wrong) - nailed an RBI single and brought the Ducks to 5-1. A Colby Shade sacrifice bunt was then perfectly placed to score two, and Oregon was up 7-1. The Ducks were not done; Brennan Milone capitalized on poor ASU defense to bring in the infield home run.
And a comedy of errors put Oregon up 8-1. The Ducks finished the fifth with a Josh Kasevich RBI double.
Jace Stoffal lasted to nearly the fifth inning - his longest outing of the season - and was replaced by Logan Mercado, who pitched a great 2.1 innings, and even though he gave up a couple of runs, he could relax and turn the ball over to Rio Britton. Britton has been playing great relief, and ASU was not able to turn anything on him.
In the fifth, Oregon picked up two more runs, in part to ASU miscues.
Oregon was up 11-3 in the fifth and running away with the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, a two-RBI single would bring ASU to an 11-3 deficit, but in the 6th, Jacob Walsh - who was showing much better batting discipline than in the past few weeks - lifted a two- run homer to bring Oregon to a 13-3 advantage.
ASU responded with one in the bottom of the 6th, but it was too little and too late. The Ducks piled on in the 7th inning to punch in the exclamation point on today’s win. Drew Cowley hit an RBI single to bring in Brennan Milone.
And then Anthony Hall hit a double that scored Cowley, bringing us to a score of 15-4.
ASU scored a meaningless run in the 7th, and Colby Somers picked up the save in the ninth, with the Oregon defense doing their part.
Oregon picks up its first series in Phoenix, in no small part to today’s hitting leaders:
But it must be noted that the pitching staff relaxed - due to the Oregon bats - and did what was necessary to secure today’s win.
Logan Mercado (6-2) earned today’s win over Tyler Meyer, but Jace Stoffal went the deepest he has all year and that was really key to today’s pitching. The Ducks complemented pitching and hitting today, and get their first series win at ASU for their efforts.
The Oregon Ducks have no breathing room. On Tuesday, they face a dangerous Gonzaga team for the second time this season, then host the Arizona Wildcats over the weekend. Arizona is just one game in front of Oregon, at fourth place, with Stanford and UCLA one game ahead of Arizona. This coming weekend will be huge for the Ducks.