The Oregon Ducks concluded the second game of a three-game series with a win against the Washington State Cougars Saturday at Baily-Bayton Field. Both starting pitchers battled through early trouble into the late innings but in the end Oregon’s offense was too strong for the Cougars and they took the game 6-3.
The offenses caught fire early, and both teams managed to score runs in each of the first three innings Saturday. In the top of the first, Oregon first baseman Ryon Healy blasted his tenth homerun of the season over the left field fence to put the Ducks on top 1-0. The Cougars would answer with their own run in the bottom of the first. After loading the bases, a sac-fly from Brett Jacobs scored second baseman Trek Stemp, to tie the game and 1-1.
Oregon picked up right were they left off with three straight singles in the top of the second by Ryan Hambright, Josh Graham, and Connor Hofmann. Ryan Hambright came around to score on Connor Hoffmann’s single to take a 2-1 lead. J.J. Altobelli continued the rally with a single of his own and his 19th RBI of the season, driving in freshman Josh Graham from second to put them Ducks up 3-1.
Washington State threatened again, loading the bases for the second time in as many innings. Trace Tam Sing started the inning off with a single and later scored on an error to put the score at 3-2
The Ducks were able to put together one more in the third, continuing the singles trend. Aaron Payne, who singled to lead off the inning, scored on a bunt single by Mitchell Tolman for the Ducks to go up 4-2. Washington State answered once more with a sacrifice fly by Patrick McGrath to score Jason Monda.
After the third inning both pitchers settled down and took control of the game. Washington State starter Scott Simon put together the game’s first one-two-three inning in the fourth, and continued his success into the eighth before being relieved by Chris McDowell. Simon pitched a solid 7.1 innings, allowing five runs (only three earned) and one walk.
Cole Irvin got into a rhythm in the fourth inning as well, and allowed no runs for the remainder of the game. Irvin stumbled into some trouble in the first three innings, but was able to work out of trouble to keep the game close. The Cougars stranded eight runners on base in the first three innings, and twice they left the bases loaded. Oregon’s normally stellar defense accumulated three errors and it made it difficult for Irvin on the mound but he managed to get out of trouble and get in a groove to finish with 7.0 innings of work, allowing only 2 earned runs with 5 strikeouts.
The Ducks scored some insurance runs in the late innings. Scott Heineman drove in Ryon Healy in the eighth inning, after Healy reached on an error to lead off the inning. In the ninth, Mitchell Tolman picked up his 25th RBI of the season, 13th on the road trip, with a sacrifice fly to score J.J. Altobelli.
Oregon’s offense really spread the love Saturday, getting a hit from each starter in the game. Altobelli lead the team with three while Ryon Healy added two of his own. This really illustrates the ability the Ducks can bring on offense. Though they rank only 8th in batting average in the PAC-12, the hits are contagious for the Ducks and as the bats have gotten better as the regular season nears its end.
Oregon looks for its fifth sweep against a PAC-12 team this season in the series finale again Washington State on Sunday, before making its way to Columbus, Ohio, to face the Buckeyes.