Let’s put it this way: it wasn’t pretty. Oregon’s first whiff of a truly elite pitcher did not go over quickly, as the Ducks were utterly dominated by #2 Vanderbilt’s ace lefty Kevin Ziomek, 4-1 on Friday night at PK Park.
After allowing a double in the first inning, and a solo homerun to Ryon Healy (3), that was it. Ziomek held Oregon to just two hits all night, and struck out a remarkable thirteen batters in his complete game two-hitter of #13 Oregon.
On the other side of the mound, Jake Reed found himself in some sticky situations early. The Vanderbilt offense worked Oregon’s ace into deep counts consistently in the early innings, and found themselves with plenty of base runners. In the second inning, Reed was one strike away from stranding two Vanderbilt base runners when leadoff man Tony Kemp crushed a ball to deep left center for a 2-out 2 RBI triple. Kemp would be brought home by Vandy’s #2 hitter to push the score to 3-0.
While Reed’s pitch count was unusually high after the two out rally, the sophomore found his groove in the third, going on to retire 13 consecutive batters to keep Oregon in the game. After that big second inning, Reed looked like the ace pitcher we had been expecting all season long.
All things considered, Reed’s outing was a really impressive one; he really kept the pace of the game high, and ultimately kept Oregon in the game much longer than they might otherwise have been.
We are now seeing that, at this point in the season, this Oregon offense is not good enough to contend with elite pitching. While four runs might have been a little much to ask for in this particular matchup, getting two hits on Friday nights will not cut it against the equally elite PAC-12 aces.
Although it is becoming a common word in these wrap ups, hopefully the bats will be a little kinder to the Ducks tomorrow in game two of this three game series.