Oregon dismantles Washington with a 9-0 win

The Ducks (15-14, 1-5) avoid the sweep against the Huskies (9-20, 2-4) as the previously absent offense finally comes to life on Sunday.

After two demoralizing defeats in extra innings to the Washington Huskies on Friday and Saturday, Manager George Horton had a simple message for his struggling ballclub:

"Quit trying to do things and just get the barrel to the baseball," he said.

The team took the message to heart by manhandling their rivals in the series finale with a score of 9-0, avoiding a sweep against one of the worst ballclubs in the conference.

"I think today you just saw guys relax and say ‘Hey, you know whatever happens, happens' and a lot of good things happened," junior second baseman Danny Pulfer said.

Donning the green and yellow "attitude" jerseys, the Ducks showed a different, more aggressive personality in the series finale, carried this time by an offensive onslaught that has not been seen in weeks.

The Ducks are 4-0 in their green and yellow's at home this season.

"You know I think we're at a point where – and I don't know if we'll do it – but we need to have our ‘attitudes' on every single game from here on in because we've had this sense of urgency," Horton said.

The win marks the first conference win of the season for the Ducks, a monkey that they are glad to have off of their back.

"It's a good step forward and all you can do is take it one day at a time and hopefully take care of business," Horton said.

Pulfer, who had his club record twelve-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday, led the charge, going 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs.

Redshirt junior Brett Hambright got the start behind the plate in place of regular catcher Jack Marder, who was moved to first base. Hambright made the most of his start by snapping the Ducks seventeen inning scoreless streak in the second inning with a double down the left field line that scored sophomore third baseman J.J. Altobelli.

From there, the Ducks didn't look back.

In the fifth inning, redshirt senior designated hitter Shawn Peterson hit his first career home run – a solo shot to left field.

"It was nice," Peterson said. "I hit it and the wind was blowing out. I don't know if I would've got it without the wind, but I just took a nice easy swing to it and fortunately it went out."

The Ducks scored four more in the seventh inning.

After a KC Serna walk forced in a run with the bases loaded, Pulfer singled to bring home two more runners. Serna scored on a wild pitch during the next at bat to score the Ducks final run.

"That felt like us," Pulfer said. "That's been missing for a long time now and it feels good to see guys, you know, finally feel comfortable. We had nothing to lose."

The offense ended up outshining a spectacular day on the mound for starter Alex Keudell. The junior retired fourteen straight batters during a stretch between the fourth and eighth innings.

"I felt pretty good, other than that second inning where I walked a couple guys in a row," Keudell said. "After that I told myself just to kind of go after guys and it worked out for me pretty well."

After the Huskies loaded the bases in the second inning, Keudell allowed only two men on base during his final six innings of work. He pitched eight innings, giving up only three hits with six strikeouts and two walks, picking up his fourth win of the season.

"I felt like my fastball had some pretty good movement on it today," Keudell said. "I was using that to get a lot of ground balls and just trying to get ahead of guys,"

Though the Ducks seemingly fired on all cylinders on Sunday, there still a sense that there is lot of work yet to be done. They have had blowout victories before this season, but have struggled in close games.

"I think the kind of win that would really spark us is to come from behind in a win, or hold on late, or those kind of emotional wins that have more of an impact than a 9-0 deal," Horton said.

Their next test will be a Wednesday matchup against the Portland Pilots, a team that beat the Ducks at home by 5-1 back on Mar. 2.

"The Pilots have been tough on us. We look at that as a significant challenge going up there," Horton said.

After that the Ducks will head to Los Angeles for a three game series against the USC Trojans next weekend.

Game Notes:

Each Ducks starter reached base in Sunday's game. Only Jack Marder and Stefan Sabol went hitless.

The Ducks tallied twelve hits for the second time in the series.

Serna went 1-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs. He walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

Peterson finished 2-for-3 with two runs and was also hit by a pitch.

After admitting to losing sleep over the series, Horton said of the win, "My shoulders are down. I'm not going to go yell at my wife and kids when I get home. The food is going to taste better. Yeah, I feel good."

A highlight video is available below courtesy of photographer Andrew Louie (copy and paste the link): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkTIr0-nR1Q&feature=youtu.be

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