The Oregon Ducks again tried a formula that has worked well the past few weeks: start pitcher Christian Ciuffetelli, get as many quality innings as you can, then put RJ Gordon on the mound, get to the end of the game with a lead, and let Kolby Somers come in for the save.
That works when the pitching is sharp. Problem was, none of the Duck pitching staff was sharp today, and the 9:00 am start time probably did not help their cause.
Oregon’s best pitching was in the first inning, when Ciuffetelli put down the Wildcats order 3-up, 3-down. From there, the pitching went downhill as the struggle went uphill, because Arizona would get hits in every inning after the first.
Meanwhile, the Arizona starting pitcher, Dawson Netz, fanned the Ducks for no hits in the first two innings. This, while Ciuffetelli gave up home runs in the second and third innings, and the Wildcats were on top with an early 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, RBI singles from Colby Shade and Brennan Malone cut the lead to one.
RJ Gordon relieved Ciuffetelli in the 4th and then gave up an RBI single in the 5th, and Arizona was doubled up on Oregon 4-2.
The Ducks briefly took the lead in the bottom of the 6th off a three-run Anthony Hall homer.
Oregon’s relief pitching would not be able to hold the lead, with Rio Britton giving up two runs in the 7th and Lyle Mercado eating two more in the 9th. With the Ducks being unable to score runners, the Wildcats went into the bottom of the ninth inning with the 8-5 advantage. Then, a Drew Cowley RBI double was not enough to close the gap and the Ducks lost 8-6, putting themselves in serious jeopardy of not advancing in the tournament.
The ingredients that have made the Oregon Ducks successful over the past three weeks were not present today. None of the pitchers threw well, and the Oregon offense was tepid. The Ducks had only six runs to show for 13 hits, and left 9 runners on base. Simply put, that will not advance the Oregon Ducks in this tournament.