The surging No. 10 Oregon Ducks baseball team marched into Hi Corbett Field this weekend to lift themselves a full game-and-a-half in front of second-place Arizona in the conference standings.
Ducks starting pitcher Alex Keudell laid Arizona’s powerhouse line-up to rest Friday evening in the first game of the series. Keudell surrendered seven hits that plated just one run to cap off his third complete game of the season.
The opportunities were there for Arizona, but it proved to be to no avail. Stranding the base-runners seemed to be the theme for the Wildcats this evening as the Ducks would continue to capitalize, extending their lead and ultimately solidifying a 6-1 victory.
Rebounding from their lack-luster Game 1 contest, the Cats reeled off 15 hits, pouring it on the Ducks to even the series with an emphatic 12-run outburst. Arizona defeated Oregon 12-6.
Saturday night’s victory brought the Cats back to a half-game behind the league-leading Ducks in the conference standings.
After falling behind an early three runs in the second, the Cats were seeing double-vision in the home half of the inning. Arizona doubled up Oregon’s efforts by knocking in some run support of their own for Oregon starter, Jake Reed.
The Wildcats tacked on six runs to mark their first lead of the series.
Although Arizona starting pitcher Konner Wade was roughed up for six runs over four innings, freshman Tyler Crawford came in to finish off the Ducks storming offense, working 4.1 innings and earning his first career pitching victory.
Same could be said for Reed’s performance. Starting pitching for both dugouts never settled in to the repertoire of the evening’s event.
The Wildcats, who went a disturbing 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, turned their situation around, knocking around seven hits with an impressive two-out RBI in the game. Swapping offense for offense, Oregon got a taste of the Cats’ Friday night woes as they went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
The No. 11 Arizona baseball team took a step back Sunday afternoon as Saturday’s momentum never carried over, and the Cats lost 3-1 in the rubber match of the series.
The Cats maintained a one-run lead through six innings until the Ducks squeaked their first run across the plate on a pass ball that bounced in the dirt.
The inning was a controversial one to say the least.
After Arizona starter James Farris presumably picked off Kevin Garlick at first base for the apparent second out, home-plate umpire Greg Charles thought otherwise and ruled that Garlick was safe. Before the pick-off attempt ensued, Charles called a balk, which sent Arizona head coach Andy Lopez racing to home plate to argue the call.
It didn't take long before Lopez was tossed from the game.
After allowing only nine walks all season, James Farris issued the fearful two-out walk, which would come back to haunt him. That walk put the Ducks over the edge and gave them a 2-1 lead—their first lead of the game.
Relieving Farris of his duties, reliever Stephen Manthei issued the third run of the game as Brett Hambright drove in Brett Thomas with a single to left. That was all the Ducks would need to win the series, taking two of three from the Wildcats.
The Ducks now sit an entire game-and-a-half above Arizona in the battle for first place in the conference.
Arizona’s next seven games will be on the road starting off with a three-game series at Cal on May 11th.