In their final series of the 2023 season at home, Oregon baseball dropped the first game against the Washington Huskies, 5-14.
Let’s not sugarcoat this. With RJ Gordon and Issac Ayon down with injury all season thus far, the last thing the Ducks needed was to lose their only pitcher that can avoid gifting the opponent with walks and runs. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what has happened, with Jace Stoffal unable to pitch because of an injury where “...it’s not his arm, it’s a different kind of a deal (that) I don’t want to get in to,” according to coach Mark Wasikowski.
It’s looking to be a long series at this point, because the Ducks pitching is, in a word, horrific. It’s the stuff that nightmares are made of.
Logan Mercado got the start against Washington, and in the first inning gave up a two-out home run that put the Huskies up 0-1. It could have been two runs had it not been for the spectacular play of Rikuu Nishida in stealing another home run:
Oregon did not have a response in the bottom of the inning, and the Huskies could not generate anything off a second-inning single.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Ducks were able to generate some offensive momentum. Drew Smith singled, setting up Josiah Cromwick for the two-run homer that would give Oregon a 2-1 lead.
In the third inning, Mercado began by walking the first two batters, who both crossed the plate off a 2 RBI double that gave WA the lead again, 2-3. The Ducks did not score in the bottom of the inning, so Mercado was trotted out in the fourth inning with Oregon down by only one run. Sure, he walked a couple of batters in the third, but do your thing in the fourth and the Ducks are still in it, right?
Mercado served up the perfect pitch to the first Huskies batter he faced, and was dinged for the home run.
Well, Oregon is only down by two, 2-4, so it’ll be okay; shake it off, take care of your pitches, and it’s all good, right? Right?
Mercado walked two and picked up two outs, but a subsequent double scored a runner and the game was now 2-5. Instead of limiting damage and relieving Mercado, the Ducks coaches left him in the game, and with two runners on base the Huskies ripped off a three-run homer that put the game out of reach.
Only after giving up eight runs was Logan Mercado relieved by Dylan McShane. McShane got out of the inning and kept the Huskies off the board in the next two innings.
Washington scored a run in the seventh inning before McShane was able to close out, with the Ducks behind only 2-9.
Meanwhile, Oregon had no offense, and did not score for six innings.
Leo Uelmen pitched in the eighth inning and Washington did not score; however, in the ninth inning a Huskies two-run home run put Washington up 2-11. The hitter mercilessly showboats, and why not? The hapless Ducks probably deserve it.
Jacob Hughes came to the mound for the Ducks, but the result was the same. After walking a couple of batters, Washington hits for a 2 RBI single:
Followed by a one RBI single to go up 2-14.
Oregon scored three in the bottom of the ninth inning, but they were never going to be in this game because of the abysmal pitching that all of us were forced to endure.
Here is the badness in its numerical glory:
Logan Mercado: 3.2 innings, 6 hits, 8 runs, 5 walks, 7.69 ERA. Leo Uelmen: 1.1 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 7.80 ERA. Jacob Hughes: .1 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 4.50 ERA.
Dylan McShane was a relative bright spot in this quagmire, but his 2 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, and 2 Ks for an ERA of 3.93 was all but wasted.
The Oregon Ducks will try to make something positive happen on Saturday, when they again host the Washington Huskies at 6:00 pm PT. The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Washington. But of course.