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Oregon Ducks Baseball: Ducks Take The First Game Of The AZ Series 10-4

Oregon bats come to life with the long ball

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 13 Oregon at Stanford Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Christian Ciuffetelli started tonight’s game vs. TJ Nichols for the Wildcats.

The Oregon Ducks followed their playbook from last week’s first game with ASU with another victory tonight: start Christian Ciuffetelli, relieve with RJ Gordon for solid pitching for a bunch of innings, get Kolby Somers in for the save and win.

Oh - and score lots of runs to help your pitchers out.

Ciuffetelli gave up a couple of singles early in the first inning that lead to Arizona scoring the first run of the game. After that, Nichols dropped the Duck batting order 1-2-3. A quick run, no bats, AZ is ahead, and it was not the finest way to start a baseball game.

That first run would be the only run the Wildcats would score for five innings, however. Just like last week, Ciuffetelli settled down after taking initial damage and dropped the AZ order in three at-bats in the second inning.

The Ducks then got to business and beat Arizona into a hole from which they would never emerge. Drew Cowley singled and advanced to second on a passed ball. Anthony Hall came to the plate and knocked the first of three home runs Oregon would hit on the night, and the bloodletting began.

Oregon was not done. Jacob Walsh hit a double, Gavin Grant walked, and a Tanner Smith homer sent all of them home.

Oregon was in a better place with some cushion, but didn’t take a chance on having that taken away by pitching. When, in the third, Ciuffetelli allowed a couple of singles with two outs, RJ Gordon was called in to close the inning with no further damage. In the bottom, Drew Cowley and Josh Kasevich singled, followed by an Anthony Hall single that put Kasevich out on a fielder’s choice and scored Cowley. Bennett Thompson knocked a fly ball in to left field, and it might have been caught were there not three AZ fielders so fiercely determined to interfere with each other.

Thompson’s double resulted in the second RBI of the inning, putting the Ducks up 7-1.

In the fourth, the Wildcats got a hit off Gordon, but he fanned the next two batters to close the top of the inning. Tanner Smith lead off the bottom with his second long ball of the night.

The fifth inning saw Gordon walk a couple of batters and get some defensive help from the outfield, and he fanned AZ to close the top of the inning.

The Duck bats were then silent in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings. RJ Gordon allowed a run in the sixth and Oregon was up 8-2, but dropped Arizona in order in the seventh. Gordon did a very good job pitching for a long stretch, just like last week; and like last week, the Ducks offense gave him enough cushion to be able to relax.

Andrew Mosiello came on the mound for relief in the top of the eighth. His pitching was not sharp at all. He couldn’t find the strike zone and when he did he was invariably behind the count and dinked for hits. After allowing a hit with runners on base for an RBI, and then loading the bases and walking another runner home, Kolby Somers was brought in to save the day with the bases loaded and one out. Somers did indeed save the day, striking out both batters he faced, literally striking down any hope of a Wildcat rally in the process.

Somers probably should have been put on the mound two batters before he was, but the Oregon offense made that move meaningless, regardless, by answering AZ’s runs with runs of their own. Jacob Walsh and Gavin Grant walked, and then Colby Shade - who didn’t have a hit to show for the night - hit a beautiful, long single to center field.

The insurance runs would bring us to our final score of 10-4, closed by a brilliant Kolby Somers save to send the Arizona Wildcats back to their hotel with the loss.

RJ Gordon (4-2) gets the win tonight, pitching the way Oregon needed him to pitch for 4.1 innings, while TJ Nichols (5-4) earns the loss. Kolby Somers picked up his ninth save on the season and is tied for first place in saves in the Pac-12.

Drew Cowley went 3-4 with two RBIs, but it was the long ball that carried the night, highlighted by Tanner Smith’s second 2-home-run game of his career. All Ducks batters reached base, leaving only five on base. Oregon scored 10 runs off 11 hits, while Arizona could only muster four runs off 12 hits.

Oregon goes into tomorrow’s game looking for the series win. That game is on Friday, 5/20/22, at 4:00 pm PT and can be viewed on the Pac-12 Network.