Yesterday, the Oregon Ducks began their four-game home stand against the San Diego Toreros, and you couldn’t ask for better baseball than what we’ve seen the past two days. These are two well-matched, excellent clubs and thus far we’ve been treated to some highly competitive games, where no one has lead by more than two runs.
Here was the announced starters ahead of the weekend. We’ve only had glimpses of Oregon’s freshman pitchers so far. We’ll get a better look this weekend, with three freshman pitchers starting after veteran Jace Stoffal opened up on Thursday.
@jstoffal9 and three true freshmen make up the rotation vs. San Diego at PK Park. Game 1 first pitch is Thursday at 3:05 p.m.— Oregon Duck Baseball (@OregonBaseball) March 1, 2023
Notes | https://t.co/je0oX4CRYc#GoDucks | #SeeYouAtPK pic.twitter.com/YUaLicedjs
Game 1 - March 2nd, 2023
San Diego drew first blood in the first inning, knocking a two-out home run over the left field fence. Stoffal buckled down and USD was only able to garner one additional hit through the five innings that Stoffal was on the mound.
All the Ducks pitchers have been helped by great defensive play, such as this double play in the second inning that snuffed out USD’s attempt to pad their score:
Oregon got to business in the fourth inning. Tanner Smith walked, followed by a Sabin Ceballos single to right center field. A wild pitch advanced the runners, and Drew Cowley took advantage, driving a deep 2 RBI double to score the runners.
Jace Stoffal kept the Toreros scoreless through the rest of his five innings of play, even helping the Ducks defensively to close out the fifth.
Matt Dallas took the mound for Oregon in the sixth and kept USD off home plate in his 2.2 innings of relief.
In the seventh inning, Jacob Walsh clocked a solo home run to put the Ducks up by two, 3-1.
With two outs and a runner in scoring position in the top of the eighth, Josh Mollerus came to the mound in relief of Dallas. USD advanced a runner off a wild pitch, and then an RBI single closed the Toreadors to 3-2. That’s as far as USD would get - Mollerus retired the rest of the side and earned the save when USD could not score in the ninth. Oregon took the series opener on a well played game with neither side committing any errors.
Coach Mark Wasikowski seemed fairly pleased with the game result:
Game 2 - March 3rd, 2023
In today’s game, freshman Leo Uelmen started and stayed in for 5.1 innings. San Diego scored a run apiece in the second and third innings - unearned, due to Duck errors - but Oregon came roaring back in the bottom of the third to take the lead.
Gavin Grant popped a double to left center, then scored off a Tanner Smith RBI single.
Rikuu Nishida was then hit by a pitch, advancing Smith to second base. For the second time in as many days (and hit in nearly exactly the same spot), Drew Cowley launched a 2 RBI double, and Oregon took the lead 3-2.
Both sides were scoreless in the next three innings. Continued stellar defense helped keep the Toreros off the board.
In the early part of the top of the sixth inning, Logan Mercado came to the mound in relief and would finish the game, earning the win in the process. The last three innings weren’t without tense moments, however, when USD tied the game 3-3 in the seventh inning. USD hit the ball well to start the top of the ninth, but the defense of 3b Sabin Ceballos was up to the challenge in perhaps the key defensive play of the game:
In the bottom of the ninth, Owen Diodati hit a double and was replaced by Mason Lytle as the pinch runner. Tanner Smith then perfectly placed the walk-off RBI double to win the game, 4-3.
Final numbers for the game were:
@tannerr_smith 2-for-5, 2 RBI, R, 2B (Walk Off)@JGWalsh_ 2-for-3— Oregon Duck Baseball (@OregonBaseball) March 4, 2023
Cowley 1-for-4, 2 RBI, 2B@A5D0l 1-for-2, BB, HBP, R@gavingrant__ 2-for-4, R, 2B
Uelmen 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 K#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/wo7QPpPaIY
Coach Wasikowski’s observations after the game:
Logan Mercado (1-0) picked up today’s win. The Oregon Ducks (6-3) seem to be regaining their footing after being swept last weekend by UC Santa Barbara. The Toreros (5-3-1) will be looking tomorrow to get back in to this series.