The Ducks have been hot-hot-hot over the past two weeks, and after a beautiful day up here in the Willamette Valley Oregon completed its second consecutive conference series sweep by smacking the dismal Washington Huskies, 6-0. This game had plenty of bright spots: a fantastic offensive performance from coach Horton’s small ball run factory, and a dominant outing from Oregon’s star freshman Cole Irvin.
Irvin was dealing on Saturday night, and was in complete control of the game from the get-go. Irvin pitched a complete game shutout, going for the full 27 outs without allowing a run. Irvin also picked up a whopping 11 strikeouts, and limited Washington to just four hits all night. I remember wondering if Irvin could hold up his end of the bargain as a true freshman starter, and up to this point, Irvin has lived up to his hyped up debut season – and then some. Pac-12 batters beware, Irvin will be around for a while.
On offense, the Ducks jumped all over the Washington starter early on, and never looked back. Oregon pushed across two runs in the first, and added four more in the fourth. To be perfectly honest, Irvin was pitching so well that it was apparent that the Ducks efforts in the fourth were mere insurance runs at that point.
While nearly every Oregon hitter was crushing the ball, Ryon Healy and Connor Hofmann led the way for the Ducks on offense. Healy went 3-4 and Hofmann went 2-4, with both sluggers bringing in two runs a piece. It seemed as if every single one of Oregon’s hits was a hard hit ball, or a perfectly placed bunt. The Oregon base-runners were extremely aggressive throughout, and took advantage of plenty of early opportunities to score.
This seven game winning streak will really be put to the test over the next few weeks. First, Oregon heads on the road to take on Arizona State next weekend, then heads to Corvallis to face the top ranked Beavers for a one game stop, after which the Ducks travel to Cal before returning home to take on UCLA. These next few series will really serve as a true measuring stick for the surging Ducks as we head to the heart of Pac-12 play.