The BYU breakdown started when left fielder Ryan Bernal misplayed a routine fly ball hit by Ducks second baseman Aaron Payne. The freshman, making his first start, ended up on third after the error and scored on a wild pitch by Cougars starter Taylor Cole moments later to give the Ducks the lead.
"I actually said under my breath ‘hit one down the left field line' before he did that, but I had a different vision of it being a line drive," Manager George Horton said.
The meltdown continued when Cole hit sophomore shortstop KC Serna and then reliever Chunner Nyberg plunked designated hitter Jack Marder two batters later.
After a Tyler Kuresa walk loaded the bases, freshman right fielder Aaron Jones stroked a base hit to center to score two more runs and extend the lead.
"Coach actually came over to me and said ‘Do you want to see what he's got or do you want to go first pitch?' and I told him I might as well go first pitch it'll be the best one I'll see. So, we went with that plan and it ended up working for us," Jones said.
It was the second time in as many nights that Jones was able to capitalize in a bases loaded situation after putting the Ducks ahead in yesterday's game with a two-run single.
Horton said that Jones "seems like he is one of the few Ducks that stays in character in RBI spots," and that he'd like to see the rest of his team follow suit.
Madison Boer sustained his string of impressive starts for Oregon, pitching 7 and 2/3rds innings, striking out six, and allowing only one run to cross the plate when Cougars second baseman Dane Nielsen scored on an Alex Wolfe single to tie the game in the eighth.
Redshirt sophomore Joey Housey came on in relief to close out the eighth, but was pulled in the ninth after allowing Nielsen to score again on a wild pitch. The Cougars had the tying run on first with two outs in the ninth, but Ducks freshman reliever Porter Clayton retired Wolfe to earn his first save of the season.
Marder made an unexpected return to the lineup after dislocating his middle finger in Thursday's game. He proved productive in the designated hitter spot, going 2-for-3 with a double and a run.
"We've got to keep him healthy because it looks like he's heating up," Horton said. He makes the game look easier and even though his batting average isn't any more glamorous than anybody else's, he takes quality at-bats."
Marder said he was excited to return to the lineup when he found out his X-Rays were negative on his right middle finger and stressed that plays like Payne's in the eighth are things the Ducks are looking to take advantage of.
"Little details like that are huge when you aren't playing well and that's what we are focusing on right now," he said.
The series will finish up at PK Park tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
Ducks sophomore third baseman JJ Altobelli took a foul ball off of his leg and was pulled from the game in the seventh inning. He was seen on crutches at the end of the game and can now be added to the growing list of Ducks injuries.