No baseball team can have a successful season if it’s not able to rally from adversity. In 2023, Oregon has been such a team, coming back in several games when things looked dire. The Duck offensive magic has been AWOL against the Washington Huskies so far this weekend however and Oregon’s pitching has been roughed up repeatedly, a combination that has led to 2 straight big losses to the Huskies. On Saturday, Oregon yielded 9 runs in the top of the first inning and 9 more over the rest of the game, ultimately losing the second contest of the weekend series 18 - 8. The Ducks have now given up 32 runs to Washington in just two games and double-digit run totals in 3 straight.
Jackson Pace (2-3) started on the mound for Oregon and lasted only 8 batters before yielding to fellow Freshman Turner Spoljaric. Pace’s stat line - which you probably wouldn’t believe was real if you were told about it - reads like something out of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Pace gave up 8 runs on 6 hits (including 2 doubles) and walked one on 30 pitches. Spoljaric was technically better, but he gave up 4 more runs on 6 Washington hits over 5.1 innings, when what Oregon needed was a lockdown from the mound.
The Ducks only hope in this game would have been to also score early and often, but Oregon didn’t get on the board until the third inning and then only for a single run on a Gavin Grant dinger.
Now down 9 - 1, the Ducks immediately yielded another Washington run in the top of the 4th to go down 10 - 1. Oregon’s best offensive inning came in the bottom of that inning, with a 2-out rally started with Jacob Walsh and Bennett Thompson singles. Grant then singled to left for his second RBI in as many innings. Rikuu Nishida then doubled to score both Thompson and Grant, and Oregon trailed 10 - 4.
For all intents and purposes, Washington ended the game in the top of 6th (well, if you don’t count the top of the 1st) as they plated another 7 runs to go up 17 - 5. Matt Dallas, who came on for Spoljaric with 2 outs in the 6th and 1 run already in, would give up an additional 5 runs on 4 hits and would walk 2 in that inning. Probably should have stayed with Spoljaric. Oregon would score 3 runs combined in the 8th and 9th, but it was by far too little and too late. Freshman Ian Umlandt pitched the last 3 innings for Oregon, giving up just 1 run on 2 hits and striking out 3 - perhaps the best pitching performance of the day for the Ducks - not that that’s saying much.
Nishida went 2 - 5 with 2 RBIs, Drew Cowley was 2 - 4 with a double, and Grant was 2 - 3 with the homer and 3 total RBIs. The Ducks produced 12 hits and left 9 runners on base. Every Duck pitcher gave up runs and hits - 18 total hits for Washington and 5 stranded.
Players try not to dwell on games like this one - and Friday’s - but the Ducks have now lost 5 of their last 6 games and have slouched their way into the bottom half of the Conference only weeks after challenging for the top 3. Oregon has just 4 Conference games left - tomorrow’s series-concluder against the Huskies and the final series against last-place Utah - and need to get cracking if something like momentum going into the Pac-12 tournament is important.