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Oregon Baseball Sweeps SF In Two-Game Series

Ducks open up the offense to win by 10

ATQ-EXCLUSIVE Baseball Morgan L. Blackwell

On a day where the Ducks did not have to go to bat for a full nine innings, Oregon scored runs in seven of the eight innings that they did bat, and won today’s game going away, 16-6.

Freshman Turner Spoljaric took the ball to start today’s match against the San Francisco Dons. Spoljaric was a bit hot-and-cold in his pitching today, which should be expected of a freshman. It seemed that he was either having problems giving up runs (innings 1 and 3) or putting the order down 1-2-3 (innings 2 and 4). But when #32 was on, he was really on:

Spoljaric was able to stay in the game and pitch through his issues because Oregon’s bats unloaded from the first inning, giving enough of a cushion for the coaches to leave him in.

The scoring in the bottom of the first started when Rikuu Nishida - who has an uncanny ability to get on base and turn it into a run - walked on Oregon’s opening at-bat. Two batters later, Drew Cowley launched a double down the left field line, and that was all that the speedy Nishida needed to score the Ducks’ first run.

And Nishida practically sauntered across the plate, standing up.

The next batter was Sabin Ceballos, who has been battling as well as he’s been playing third base this season. Ceballos sent the ball over the left field fence, giving the Ducks a 3-1 lead.

Turner Spoljaric rebounded nicely in the 2nd after giving up a run in the first, and kept the Dons off the scoreboard. SF starter Matt McConnell, who would pick up today’s loss, was relieved in the top of the second innings by Hunter Holzemer, who fared no better than the starter and also gave up three runs.

Oregon’s portion of the second inning began with a Nishida single, followed by Nishida advancing to second on a passed ball, and then to third on a throwing error. Colby Shade walked, putting runners at the corners, setting up Drew Cowley for another RBI hit - and watch Nishida stroll across the plate, with enough time to look back, take a picture, dust off home plate, and pick up the bat.

Just kidding; however, it’s something to watch Rikuu Nishida walk acoss the plate where other runners slide.

Ceballos reached base on the next at-bat on a fielding error, which scored Shade. Jacob Walsh hit into a double play but earned the RBI with Cowley scoring.

The Ducks enjoyed a 6-1 lead going into the third inning.

Spoljaric had some control issues in the 3rd. After loading the bases on singles, a passed ball scored a SF runner. The next two Dons batters hit sacrifice grounders that scored the remaining base runners, and the score was 6-4.

Oregon’s batters had the back of their pitcher, though. Bryce Boettcher hit a double to start the bottom of the inning, and was brought home by a Gavin Grant double.

The Ducks ended the third with a 7-4 lead. Spoljaric again kept SF off the board in the fourth - his last inning pitched - and while his numbers may not have been outstanding, he was able to stay in for a full four innings and gain valuable experience.

Oregon’s offense added considerable cushion in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two runners on base, Gavin Grant clicked on his second double of the day; a two RBI shot down the left line.

Nishida was hit by a pitch that put Grant on second, followed by a double steal that put runners on second and third. SF then pitched a ball that passed, completely taking the catcher by surprise, and scoring Grant.

Colby Shade walked, followed by Drew Cowley’s second double, a 2 RBI rocket to the right corner that gave the Ducks five runs in the inning.

In the top of the fifth inning, Logan Olson came in for relief and mirrored what Spoljaric was doing: he had control problems that allowed a run in the fifth, and kept SF from scoring in the sixth. They might have picked up more in the fifth, had it not been for this fantastic Nishida catch to end the top of the inning:

The Dons scored a run to make it 12-5, and then kept the Ducks scoreless for the fifth inning - and only the fifth inning.

Olson got it together and looked sharp in the top of the sixth:

With SF scoreless in the top of the sixth, Oregon set about harassing the Dons’ bullpen. Shade was hit by a pitch, Cowley walked, and Ceballos grounded into a double play that put Shade on third. Colby Shade came home on a wild pitch that put the Ducks up 13-5. With a comfortable lead, we started to see some young hitters get an opportunity at the plate, such as this Anson Aroz RBI single.

The put Oregon up 14-5. Austin Anderson came in to relieve Olsen in the seventh after Olson hit his first batter with a pitch. The Dons picked up one run to bring their score to six, but it was unearned off a throwing error, giving Anderson today’s win.

The Ducks made it 15-6 when freshman Drew Smith, another young hitter, hit an RBI single in his first collegiate at-bat:

In the eighth, Bryce Boettcher put the icing on today’s cake with with his first homer of the season.

The Oregon Ducks (22-9, 7-5 Pac-12) performed as expected against an overwhelmed San Francisco Dons (13-15, 4-8 WCC) team, and picked up the two-game sweep. The bats were swinging, and here are your batting leaders today:

Coach Waz’s comments after the game:

As expected, Drew Smith was incredibly pumped at knocking his first college hit for an RBI single on the very first pitch tossed to him:

The Oregon Ducks take tomorrow off and then have a difficult, but very important home stand against the #7 Stanford Cardinal this weekend. The weekend starters have not yet been announced.

The Oregon Ducks host the Stanford Cardinal on Friday, 4/15/23, at 5:05 pm PT. The game is at PK Park and can be seen on Oregon Live Stream.