Ducks fall to Saint Mary's in home opener

The Oregon Ducks home opener at PK Park was spoiled by a late rally by the Gaels as they fall 3-2.

The eighth inning collapse started after junior Tyler Anderson left the mound after pitching 7 and 1/3rd innings of shutout baseball. The Ducks led 2-0 and had complete momentum as Saint Mary's could only muster three hits against the Ducks ace, who also had 12 strikeouts.

When manager George Horton went to senior reliever Kellen Moen to get out of a one out jam, things started to go haywire. With two on, Moen walked the bases loaded, then walked right fielder Brenden Kalfus, forcing in the Gaels first run that cut the lead in half.

Junior Scott McGough came on in relief to stop the bleeding. McGough quickly got a strikeout but then threw a wild pitch to Gaels second baseman Chris Murphy on a 2-2 count, allowing the tying run to score. After walking Murphy, McGough then walked catcher Toby DeMello to force in the go-ahead run for the Gaels.

When it was all said and done, the Gaels had scored three runs on just one hit.

"As a reliever you try and have a short term memory," said McGough. "As of midnight tonight I'm going to get over it and get to the next pitch, and, as we say, ‘flush it'."

The Ducks tried for a little ninth inning rally when left fielder Stefan Sabol led off with a single and second baseman, Danny Pulfer, knocked a bouncer off of Gaels shortstop, Michael Gastelum, which was ruled a hit. After a Marcus Piazzisi sacrifice bunt, right fielder Aaron Jones was walked to load the bases.

However, shortstop J.J. Altobelli grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat and the game for the Ducks.

"I thought we gave away a lot of at bats and I didn't think we played tough baseball," said manager George Horton.

This was the third game this season that Oregon's bullpen was unable to hold a lead.

"When you have the lead in the eighth inning and then, all of a sudden, you're looking at the ninth and you're down by one and you don't like playing from your back, you want to keep playing forward," said Anderson.

The Ducks came out of the gate with hot bats. Jones drove a double to the gap in left field on the first pitch he saw to start the bottom of the first. Jones scored on a bases loaded fielders choice by third baseman Ryan Hambright.

Designated hitter, Paul Eshleman, drove in Altobelli on a sacrifice fly to left field putting the Ducks up 2-0 quickly.

But, after the first, the Ducks could not get a run home, despite being given many opportunities.

Coming into the game, the Ducks had the edge offensively, scoring 21 runs this season to the Gaels three, but the bats died in the cold night air.

"We aren't going to hang out hat on that," Horton said of playing in the elements adding, "They obviously did a better job of handling the conditions than we did."

Gaels starter, Mark Anderson, who was coming off of a short three inning start against San Jose State, threw seven innings giving up five hits and two earned runs.

Anderson was shaky to start, but following the first inning Anderson thrived when the Ducks put men in scoring position, getting out of consecutive jams in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

"We didn't execute," said Horton. "We didn't put the ball on the ground and unfortunately we paid a significant price for that."

The Ducks and Gaels play again tomorrow at 12:00 pm.

GAME NOTES:

A pregame and postgame fireworks display was available to the fans that attended.

At game time the temperature was a balmy 36 degrees.


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