George Horton‘s squad put all of their talent on display tonight in an 11-3 victory at home over New Mexico State. With strong pitching performances from David Peterson (0-0) and Josh Graham (1-0) and consistent offense at the plate as well as on the base paths, the Ducks had everything working in their favor tonight.
Peterson gave up just four hits, three runs (two earned), three walks and seven strikeouts over 5.1 innings. It took some time for him to get settled in his first appearance at PK Park, walking the first batter he faced. After striking out the next batter a ground rule double by Michael Paulson scored Jay Sheely from second. Peterson shook off the score and turned around to retire the next two batters, recording a strikeout to end the inning.
He would record two more strikeouts in the top of the second before getting into trouble in the third when Sheely reached first on an error and would later score. The fifth inning was Peterson’s finest of the night as he struck out the side. Peterson started the sixth by forcing a groundout to short but then a Quinnton Mack triple to right and a single by Brent Hermanussen to bring him home caused Horton to call in Graham who quickly induced a double play to end the inning. Graham proceeded to follow Peterson’s lead by striking out the side in the seventh inning
While the Pitching staff kept the Aggies at bay the offense went to work to do their part. After a quiet first inning the Ducks slowly built up their momentum scoring a run in every inning except the first and fifth. Shaun Chase started the second inning with a double down the left field line and would score on the next play off of Brandon Cuddy’s single. Steven Packard drove in Tim Susnara in the third and he would hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth that brought Jakob Goldfarb in to score.
A scary moment in the seventh saw Packard leave the game after an apparent shoulder injury sliding into third base. J.B Bryant came in to replace him and promptly stole home to put the Ducks up 5-3 heading into the eighth.
The eighth was when everything came together for Oregon, a combination of plate discipline, small ball and raw power drove them to a huge six run inning. Susnara drew a walk and advanced to second on an Austin Grebeck single to left. Matt Eureste joined in the hit parade with a single that brought Susnara in for his second score of the night. Grebeck and Eureste pulled off a successful double steal that moved them both into scoring postion. Two more walks would bring in another run for the Ducks and brought Chase to the plate with the bases loaded. With his second homer in as many nights Chase safely put the game away with a grand slam to left field.
Joe Reta was brought in to finish out the ninth inning forcing two flyouts and adding another strikeout for the pitching staff. The Ducks (5-1) are tied for second place in the Pac-12 with Arizona (5-1), trailing USC (6-0) and Pac-12 favorite, #11 UCLA (5-0). The Ducks will play game three of their four game series with New Mexico State tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm.
Top Photo by Dave Peaks