Oregon shuts out Saint Mary's

In polar opposite fashion of yesterday's matchup the Oregon Ducks (3-3) scored early and this time got some insurance for the late innings beating Saint Mary's (2-3) 3-0 at PK Park.

A big game from center fielder Marcus Piazzisi sparked the Ducks limited offense, but this time the bullpen held up to keep the Gaels at bay.

An eighth inning burst saw the Ducks work down the Gaels relief staff as four men reached base and two scored. First baseman Tyler Kuresa drew a one out walk that was followed by a Danny Pulfer single. Kuresa scored on Piazzisi's base hit to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. Right Fielder Aaron Jones padded the cushion with an infield single that drove in Pulfer.

Piazzisi also scored the Ducks first run in the third inning without needing help. After advancing to second on a Jones sacrifice bunt, Piazzisi stole third and advanced home on a throwing error by Gaels catcher Toby DeMello.

Coach Horton praised Piazzisi, a night after he says he called out the outfielder for not doing what he was supposed to be doing.

"That's what real men are made of when you get a negative situation like last night and come back strong," he said adding that Piazzisi would be given a special jersey that the team awards to its player of the game.

Still, the Ducks found themselves stranding runners on base regularly, including leaving the bases loaded in the second and eighth innings. "We still aren't firing on all cylinders," said Piazzisi, adding, "Our hitting is pretty terrible."

Madison Boer had another impressive start, throwing 7 and 1/3rd innings of five hit shutout baseball, continuing a string of impressive starts by the Ducks pitching staff. While Boer was solid, he was bailed out by his defense a couple of times in tight situations.

"I was struggling a bit to find the zone but luckily the defense picked me up with a few double plays and really helped me along," he said.

The biggest double play came in the eighth inning after the Boer exited for left-handed reliever Porter Clayton. With a man on Clayton got Gaels centerfielder Cole Norton to ground into the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and restore confidence in the Ducks bullpen.

Reliever Scott McGough, pitching a day after he lost the lead against the Gaels, avenged last night's loss with a clutch save to seal the victory.

"I thought we played pretty well today and finally got rewarded by the scoreboard," said McGough. "It felt really good."

McGough hopes this win will lead to more success early on in the season.

"We've got to try to keep on a roll here and use this momentum to try and string some wins together," said McGough.

The Ducks and Gaels are scheduled to finish the series tomorrow at 1:00 PM at PK Park.

GAME NOTES:

While not as chilly as yesterday, the Ducks acknowledged that the cold has affected them during this home stand. Horton said, "It seemed to affect our team's personality a bit. I'd rather play in different conditions but the W tastes good,"

Adding to that, Piazzisi said "I mean yeah I'm cold. You're a little stiffer but it's not an excuse." However, he did joke and say that, "Hawaii was nice."

McGough, who lives with five other teammates said that they really helped him forget last night's debacle. "We talked about it a little bit at the house and what we need to work on," he said. Boer added, "None of us are pressing the panic button. He's coming in and we know he's going to pound the zone."


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