After a disastrous outing yesterday against last place (in the Pac-12) Utah, the Oregon Ducks righted their listing ship in nearly shutting out the Utah Utes today, 9-1.
Starting on the hill in this early morning game was Turner Spoljaric, and he gave everything the Ducks desperately needed with his best pitching performance of this season. Spoljaric blanked the Utes through the seventh inning, when Utah scored their only run of the game.
Oregon methodically amassed runs starting in the first inning. After a Colby Shade single, Drew Cowley rose in the record books to tie the most RBIs in a single season with 57 off of this double:
Tanner Smith then hit a double to score Cowley, giving the Ducks the 2-0 advantage.
Spoljaric was able to relax and do his thing this game, and was aided by an Oregon defense that was not committing the faux pas of Thursday.
The Duck bats struck again in the third inning. After Shade was hit by a pitch and Cowley walked, Sabin Ceballos ripped a single past Utah’s third baseman.
A failed pickoff move scored Cowley, and Oregon was up 4-0.
The Ducks scored another run in the fifth inning. Drew Cowley doubled to get into scoring position, and Ceballos brought him home with this single to center:
Turner Spoljaric did the Duck faithful proud in getting of of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning.
In a crazy sequence in the seventh inning, Colby Shade struck out but reached base on a wild pitch, then got to second base from a subsequent wild pitch. Drew Cowley flied out, but Shade got to third base, and then scored off another wild pitch.
Later in the inning, Tanner Smith scored the run that put Oregon up 7-0 off - you guessed it - yet another wild pitch:
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Utah scored their lone run of the game with a double to left center.
Seven innings would do it for Turner Spoljaric, but he definitely rose to the occasion, giving the Ducks a lengthy start that they very much needed.
Spoljaric was relieved by Austin Anderson in the eighth inning and Ian Umlandt in the ninth inning. Both relievers pitched scoreless frames and did a fine job of preserving the Oregon lead.
Oregon added an additional run apiece in the eighth and ninth innings, bringing the game to its 9-1 conclusion.
The Ducks offense whittled away in classic small ball fashion, and manufactured runs while taking advantage of Utah mistakes. Neither side hit a home run this game.
Here are your stats leaders in today’s game:
@TurnerSpoljaric 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 K@tennettbhompson 3-for-4, RBI, R— Oregon Duck Baseball (@OregonBaseball) May 19, 2023
Cowley 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, 3 R@20_sabin 2-for-5, 2 RBI@ColbyShade 1-for-4, RBI, 3 R@tannerr_smith 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/gbk5jnfCD3
Oregon and Utah play their final conference game of the season tomorrow, with the series win on the line. With some help, the Ducks could move into fifth place in the conference standings, but that is incumbent upon winning tomorrow.
The Utes host the Ducks in another early game on Saturday, with the first pitch thrown at 10:05 am PT. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.