Oregon beats Saint Mary's 3-2, takes series

The Ducks take the series against the Gaels behind another solid pitching performance.

Oregon pitcher Christian Jones' first start of the season couldn't have gotten much worse at Hawaii. The Warriors roughed him up for seven runs in four and two-thirds innings in a game that the Ducks ended up losing in the ninth.

Back home at PK Park, Jones was a different pitcher showing dominant talent in a career high seven innings. He finished giving up only one run on five hits and striking out twelve batters, also a career high.

"I felt a little more calm and a little more relaxed," Jones said of his second start.

Jones was rarely threatened on the day and gave up his only run in the sixth inning on Gaels center fielder Donald Collins groundout that scored first baseman Troy Channing.

Much like teammate Tyler Anderson on Friday night, Jones was able to get key strikeouts when he needed them, utilizing a mix of off-speed pitches and breaking balls.

"Towards the beginning of the game it seemed like the change-up was my out pitch," Jones said. "But, toward the end it seemed like my slider was becoming more of a pitch that they were swinging and missing at."

Jones showed his poise in the third inning, after Channing drew a two out walk to load the bases and bring up right fielder Brenden Kalfus. But, Jones calmly struck him out – one of four times Kalfus was victimized at the plate Sunday afternoon.

"He was outstanding. He threw one pitch above the belt all day," manager George Horton said, noting that Jones would receive the Ducks special player of the game jersey.

Things got interesting in the top of the eighth inning with Kellen Moen on the mound in relief for the Ducks. Moen quickly retired the first two batters he faced and then gave up a solo home run to Gaels third baseman, Patrick Wisdom, which narrowed the Ducks lead to one.

However, that was as close as the Gaels would get as Moen got out of the inning and then retired the side in order to grab his second save of the season.

Center fielder Marcus Piazzisi contributed another solid performance for the Ducks, scoring what turned out to be the decisive run. Piazzisi came up with the definitive hustle play of the afternoon after he went from first to third base on catcher Jack Marder's infield single because the Gaels left the base unmanned.

"I had a pretty good read on it," Piazzisi said. "I saw that nobody was there and the bag was wide open. It's kind of instinctual now."

Piazzisi subsequently scored on third baseman Ryan Hambright's squeeze bunt to give the Ducks, at the time, a three run lead.

"We're aggressive on the bases," Piazzisi said. "We like to play like that. That's the kind of ballclub we are and that's what gets us through when we are struggling offensively."

Coming into the series, the Ducks had scored 21 runs through four games but couldn't get the bats going against the Gaels. The Ducks batters amassed eight total runs over the three game series and left several men in scoring position, something Horton attributes to a lack of confidence.

"A coach can tell them to relax and be confident all they want, but until they fill themselves up with confidence, it's not going to change," he said. "Where you get the confidence is being successful in batting practice and practice."

The Ducks now move onto Tuesday night's matchup against the Portland Pilots at PK Park at 5:00 PM.


Horton said that as of today, shortstop KC Serna's suspension has been lifted. Horton praised Serna for doing the things necessary to get it lifted, though did not disclose what those things were. He expects Serna to start at shortstop and bat in the leadoff spot on Tuesday night against the Pilots and hopes that he provides an offensive spark for the team.

Horton also mentioned that Stefan Sabol had his left hand broken by a Kyle Barraclough pitch in yesterday's game. Sabol was hit in the sixth inning. Horton said that he expects him to be out around five weeks.

Oregon starters were the story of the series. Between Tyler Anderson, Madison Boer, and Jones they logged 21 and two-thirds innings, 30 strikeouts, 7 walks, gave up 13 hits and only 3 earned runs.

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