Bruins two-hit Ducks, complete sweep

It seems the Oregon Ducks (23-23, 5-13) have finally hit rock bottom. Looking to avoid a sweep to the UCLA Bruins (27-16, 14-7) on Mother's Day, the Ducks offense accumulated only two hits in a 4-0 loss Sunday afternoon at PK Park.

"I thought it was one of the weakest offensive efforts that I've seen in a long time," Manager George Horton said.

The Ducks were in the game until the eighth inning when Bruins left fielder Cody Keefer broke a 0-0 tie with a single to center field off of senior reliever Kellen Moen, which scored first baseman Dean Espy.

But, the story was Oregon's continual struggles against the UCLA pitching staff. The Ducks were dominated this time by freshman right-hander Adam Plutko, a player they heavily recruited out of high school.

Overshadowed by the frenzy surrounding UCLA's Friday and Saturday starters, Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, Plutko ended up turning in the performance of the weekend, tossing a complete game two-hitter with seven strikeouts.

"He was a sixth round pick out of high school," Horton said. "By the time it's all said and done, he might end up being as good as Bauer and Cole."

Plutko had little trouble with the anemic Oregon offense and retired nine straight batters during two different stretches of the ball game. He also retired the first eight he faced to start the game.

"I was just happy that I could do a good job for my team. That's all I try to focus on," Plutko said.

In the ninth, the Bruins put the game out of reach with five hits and tacked on three more runs. The Bruins had eight of their thirteen hits in the final two innings, handing Moen his fourth loss.

Third baseman Cody Regis led the offense by going 4-for-4 at the plate with a walk and an RBI. Keefer was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

"This is a very difficult place to play," UCLA Manager John Savage said. "Oregon's got some of the best pitching in the country and we feel very fortunate to come out of here with what we got."

Ducks starter Alex Keudell lasted 6-2/3 innings, keeping his team in the game until his exit. He gave up just five hits, four walks and struck out four in a no decision.

"The only thing that really kind of gave us a snowball's chance was Keudell's effort," Horton said.

After mentioning that the game made him want to "throw up" Horton said that he felt like some of his players have given up with fourteen games left.

"To me that looked like we have some of our roster that have decided the season's over," Horton said. "I'm not going to sit around and let that happen."

The Ducks now sit in a tie with Washington State for ninth place in conference and with the sweep, have severely damaged their hopes for a postseason appearance.

Junior second baseman Danny Pulfer was visibly upset with the loss, after the Ducks put only three runners on base and didn't get a hit past the fourth inning.

"I think if you are at this level in the game, you shouldn't have to have any motivation whatsoever to come out and play nine innings and play three games on a weekend," Pulfer said.

Asked if the rest of the team is feeling the frustration Pulfer responded, "I hope so. If not then I'd say something is seriously wrong."


Attendance at PK Park was 1554.

A few of the players were accompanied onto the field during pregame by their mothers in honor of Mother's Day.

The Ducks used three relief pitchers in the ninth inning.

Sophomore third baseman J.J. Altobelli had one of the Ducks hits. His third inning single broke an 0-for-17 slump he was in. Freshman center fielder Brett Thomas had the other hit.

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