"Ultimately, I'm happy. I'm happy for them," Manager George Horton said of his team. "They stayed with it and grinded through it and, sometimes, ugly wins are the start of something special and I hope that's the case."
The Ducks took advantage of a bizarre turn by Cougars pitcher Chris Capper, who had retired fifteen of the first sixteen batters he faced, including the first twelve in order.
Capper lost control in the sixth and walked the first three batters he faced before being pulled. But, the Ducks offensive struggles emerged again as Jones mustered the only hit of the inning, two outs later.
"That guy was struggling a little bit and we recognized it early so we were kind of making him throw a strike," Jones said.
The "offensive explosion" late in the game was a new sight for fans at PK Park. The Ducks six runs were the most scored at home thus far this season, but came from a disappointing five hits.
Despite the win, the team is still struggling to attack when the opportunity is presented to them, especially with the bases loaded.
"I was disappointed that once the table got set our approach seemed to be very careful and tentative," Horton, said.
Horton said that he's been attempting to get his team looser, even going to the point of playing James Brown's "I Feel Good" in the dugout to lighten the mood.
"You've got to fake it until you make it, I guess," Horton said. "We're trying to fake it, but what's going to help us make it is aggression and confidence. I think confidence is a choice and unfortunately our guys aren't making that choice."
Again, it was junior lefty Tyler Anderson who anchored the Ducks when they needed him most. While he was shaky in the early innings, Anderson settled down to throw twelve strikeouts, his third straight start with double-digit strikeouts.
Anderson gave up two runs on four hits and looked absolutely dominant after the third inning. At one point, Anderson struck out five Cougars in a row.
"I tried to put up a zero because we weren't scoring runs," Anderson said of his shaky beginning, adding later, "After the third inning our hitters started getting some energy and I felt that they were going to try and turn it around."
Junior reliever Scott McGough came on in the ninth inning and earned his second of the season.
However, with the offense continually searching to find an identity, Horton said his approach won't change anytime soon.
"My mission is to continue to ride them pretty hard," Horton said. "I'll be the fear factor, not the game. The game's the game. Details are details. So, I've kind of made my mind up that it's not okay. When we debrief we'll break down some of the things we did good and some of the things we did bad and they'll handle it like men. And, they'll have a choice tomorrow to get up and do something about it, or not."
Marder dislocated his middle finger sliding back into second on a pick-off attempt in the eighth following his two-run double. There is no timetable for his return but Horton said he attempted to stay in the game despite the injury. Redshirt junior catcher Brett Hambright will likely start in his place.