This is a little more fun now. After Oregon’s offense got things going on Sunday against Cal State Fullerton, the Ducks carried some momentum back to PK Park as Oregon dominated Cal State Northridge on Monday night, 12-4.
Oregon (9-3) seemed to have a bit more confidence with the bats, as the Horton-ball scheme worked to perfection, boosting Oregon’s offensive output like never before this season. Oregon had two five run innings, scored 12 total runs on 14 hits, and batted an impressive .438 with runners in scoring position.
As we’ve grown accustomed to this season, Ryon Healy led the way for the Oregon offense yet again today. Healy finished the day with four RBIs, two doubles, and two runs scored. With those numbers, Healy pushes his RBI total to a team high 12, and moves his batting average to .404.
Even more interesting was the effectiveness of the lineup change. With Aaron Payne in a bit of a cold spell, Scott Heineman was named the leadoff hitter in Monday’s lineup, as Brett Hambright also moved up to the number two spot following his 3 RBI game on Sunday. Heineman earned an RBI from the leadoff spot, while Hambright scored two more runs. As long as batters are on base in front of Ryon Healy, whether it be Aaron Payne, J.J. Altobelli, or whoever, good things are going to happen.
As for the pitching performances today, it was a generally routine staff day. Cole Wiper got the start, but a high pitch count and shaky command limited him to just 3.2 innings. Wiper was actually on the hook for the loss when he left, but a five run bottom half of the fourth fueled by some good, old fashioned small ball from the bottom of the lineup gave Oregon the lead in the middle innings.
Brando Tessar (1-0) would earn the win in relief of Wiper in his season debut. Darrell Hunter made an appearance in relief of Tessar, and would have a fairly shaky outing in the seventh and eigth, walking three batters, and giving up three hits. With two outs in the eighth, and the bases loaded, and the tying run at first, Jimmie Sherfy got the call from the bullpen.
Sherfy is not very consistent when it comes to starting his outings: the closer had only recorded one leadoff out in his previous outings, but would need to prevent the big inning, and close out the game for Hunter and the rest of the staff in the eighth. Sherfy also came into the at bat against Northridge’s number-3-hitter (who had already went yard in the first inning) with a 2-0 count as well.
Jimmie froze the Matador slugger with his first pitch, then got the batter to swing straight through two of the closer’s nastiest pitches to close out the inning.
The Oregon half of the eighth was another big inning, as a Ryon Healy bases clearing 3RBI double, and a Steven Packard 2 RBI triple fueled Oregon’s second five run inning of the game to put the Matadors away for good. Just for good measure, Sherfy would strike out the side in the ninth to push his season total up to 9 strikeouts.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 12:00pm tomorrow afternoon at PK Park, hopefully the Ducks can continue their offensive hot streak as the matchup with top ranked Vanderbilt looms around the corner.