Oregon bats disappear in loss to Arizona

One night after one of the most emotional wins of the season, the Oregon Ducks (20-17, 3-8) were left scratching their heads following a 2-1 loss to the No. 23 Arizona Wildcats (24-14, 6-8) thanks in large part to junior Kyle Simon's complete game three hit gem.

Simon earned his seventh win of the season in dominating fashion and was aided by freshman center fielder Johnny Field's seventh inning home run, a solo shot to left field off of Ducks starter Madison Boer to give the Wildcats the 2-1 lead.

"It was a slider," Boer said of the pitch he threw Field. "It was kind of up and hanging. I kind of got around on it instead of staying on top of it and he put barrel to it and put it out."

Boer registered his first complete game of the season, but made two mistakes the entire night, both to Field who finished 2-for-4 with a double, home run and two runs scored. Field's run scored off of sophomore shortstop Alex Mejia's grounder in the fifth provided the Wildcats with their first run to tie the game.

But, it was Simon who stole the show during a game that lasted only an hour and fifty-two minutes. He finished with five strikeouts and no walks.

"[Simon] was just doing a good job of spotting his pitches low and getting us to chase and getting us to put the ball in play early," said Pulfer.

The Ducks three through nine hitters did not record a single hit and freshman right fielder Aaron Jones was the only one of them to reach base thanks to an error on Wildcats second baseman Bryce Ortega in the second inning.

"We didn't stay behind the baseball very well, we didn't use the middle of the field like you need to against sinker ball guys and like I said I don't think we squared a ball up after the second inning," said Horton.

The Ducks started off the game picking up where they left off from on Thursday. Junior second baseman Danny Pulfer and freshman center fielder Brett Thomas led off with back-to-back singles in the bottom of the first, which set up freshman left fielder Stefan Sabol to knock in Pulfer from third on a fielder's choice.

However, the bats inexplicably disappeared and the Ducks fell back into early season form offensively. The Ducks wouldn't get another hit until the sixth inning when Pulfer tapped a bunt single with two outs. After stealing second to get in scoring position, Thomas grounded out to end the threat.

Despite taking the loss, Boer's stat line was positive, giving up only six hits to the Wildcats and striking out five. He was aided by great defensive performances by sophomore third baseman J.J. Altobelli and junior shortstop KC Serna, who returned to the starting lineup after his game winning performance in Thursday's game.

"I got a lot of ground balls tonight and the defense was awesome, really special," Boer said.

"It wasn't about effort," said Horton. "Our guys were ready to play and they had energy and that showed up on the defensive side of it. It's hard to do but sometimes you need to tip your cap to [Simon] who did a little bit better job than Madison Boer. That's the story of the game."

But, Boer continues to be snake bitten by poor offensive showings during his starts. He came into the game with a 2.13 earned run average, though his record now stands at 2-3 over 10 starts.

"He deserves a break," Horton said. "He continues to give us quality starts and, you know, like I've said about Madison before he's not a selfish kid. He takes the loss just as hard as anybody whether he was pitching or not."

The two teams face off in a rubber match at noon Saturday, and the pressure is on the Ducks to get their first conference series win of the season.

"It's probably the biggest game of the year right now," said Pulfer. "This is Omaha for us tomorrow. In my opinion it's Omaha for me."

"We need a series win, it's a must," said Pulfer. Game Notes –

Attendance at PK Park was 1984.

Tonight was "Karaoke Night" at the ballpark.

Danny Pulfer finished 2-for-4 and has now reached base safely.

Postgame interviews and game footage is available here (copy and paste link) courtesy of photographer Andrew Louie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn82P5DVckc&feature=youtu.be

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