Oregon’s offense was a bit slow to get going today, but propelled by a 7-run seventh inning, the Ducks picked up the first game of their two-game series with the Gonzaga Bulldogs, 11-4.
Jackson Pace started at the mound, and while he probably should have been relieved before he allowed the Bulldogs to get to three in the fifth inning, he did pitch decently enough for the Oregon bats to bail him out.
Both sides were quiet in the first inning. Pace’s control problems manifested in the second inning, when he walked the first batter, who then stole second, got to third on a ground out, and then scored on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the second inning, Tanner Smith evened the scored with a solo home run, tying the game at 1-1.
In the top of the third, Pace had two outs but had also allowed two singles, so a third, well placed single to short center gave the Bulldogs the lead again, 1-2.
T3 | Zags 2, Ducks 1— Gonzaga Baseball (@ZagBaseball) April 26, 2023
Eisenstat drops this two-out single in center to get Kalmer across and retake the lead! Three straight hits for GU! pic.twitter.com/xH1BzYlegT
Oregon’s bats were silent for the next few innings while the Zags began to cycle in their bullpen.
E3 | Zags 2, Ducks 1— Gonzaga Baseball (@ZagBaseball) April 26, 2023
Another 1-2-3 inning for Buckner ends with his third K of the day! pic.twitter.com/68CTDySOdK
In the top of the fifth inning, the Bulldogs added a solo homer to lead 1-3.
That’s where the score would stay through the bottom of the sixth, where Rikuu Nishida walked, followed by a Drew Cowley single that put Nishida on third base. This sacrifice fly from Sabin Ceballos scored Nishida, and the Ducks closed to 2-3.
Leo Uelmen put down Gonzaga order in the top of the seventh, aided by great defense:
The Ducks opened things up and put the game away in the bottom of the seventh inning. After getting two runners on base with no outs, Bryce Boettcher brought them to the plate with a single to left center field.
Oregon loaded the bases with one out, and took advantage of the gift with a Drew Cowley single that scored two.
The next batter up was Sabin Ceballos, who ripped a three-run homer that put the Ducks up 9-3.
The Zags added a run in the top of the eighth inning, but that wasn’t going to be enough. In the bottom of the inning, Anson Aroz grounded out for an RBI, and a Drew Cowley solo home run put the icing on this win, with the Ducks taking it 11-4.
Oregon’s pitching did enough to win with help from the bats. Jackson Pace pitched for five innings, allowing three runs off seven hits with 1 K and one walk. Grayson Grinsell pitched for one inning with no runs, one hit, and 2 Ks. Leo Uelmen (3-3) earned the win today, pitching very well for the three innings that he was on the mound. Uelmen finished with three hits and one run to take the win.
The Ducks batting was very active in the later innings and was lead by Sabin Ceballos with 4 RBIs on 2-4 hitting, including the three-run homer. Drew Cowley also featured in today’s win, going 3-5 with three RBIs and a home run. Bryce Boettcher was also productive, batting 2-4 with two RBIs.
Coach Waz offered this after the game:
Sabin Ceballos has been a superstar, and had this to say:
The Oregon Ducks (27-12, 11-7 Pac-12) did what they should have done, and needed to do, against a Gonzaga team (14-23, 10-8 WCC) that, while perhaps not being as good as they have been the previous few seasons, are still perfectly capable of taking the second and final game of this series.