Power hitting, pitching propel Ducks past ASU

Since the Oregon Ducks baseball program was reinstated four years ago, one hurdle they haven't seemed to overcome is Arizona State. But on Saturday afternoon at PK Park, following a 1-0 victory in game one of a doubleheader, the No. 23 ranked Ducks (17-8, 5-3) used a power hitting display to earn a 3-1 victory and the first series victory over the No 14. ranked Sun Devils (16-11, 3-5) in history.

"It's a breakthrough for our program," Ducks Manager George Horton said.

Left fielder Kyle Garlick led the way with two solo home runs off of Sun Devils starter Trevor Williams, on a day in which four of the five runs scored by both squads were a result of solo blasts. Catcher Brett Hambright added an RBI double to score Scott Heineman after Garlick's seventh inning home run to give the Ducks a three run cushion.

"So five runs were scored and four of them were by way of home runs hit in a pitcher's park with the wind blowing in," Horton said. "I mean, who'da thunk it?"

Williams (5-2) had only given up 10 runs all season prior to Saturday's start wi an impressive 1.11 earned run average, good enough for third best in the conference behind Stanford's John Hochstatter and Washington's Tyler Davis.

"They had good stuff, you just have to battle against arms like that," Garlick said.

Though it was Reed that surpassed Williams in effectiveness on a cold and rainy day that saw most of the Sun Devils lineup bundled up in masks to keep warm. The freshman registered his sixth quality start in seven tries, lasting 7 1/3 innings before being replaced by closer Jimmie Sherfy.

Reed (2-2) said that watching senior Alex Keudell throw a four-hit shutout in the early game helped him prepare for his start, despite a lack of time to warm up in between games.

"You're just seeing every pitch that Alex threw to the hitters and you get a pretty good idea of what to do with everyone," Reed said.

Arizona State's lineup, which boasted five hitters with a batting average over .300, couldn't get a handle on Reed's fastball and managed to manufacture only one threat all afternoon, in third inning. With runners on the corners and one out, shortstop Deven Marrero had an opportunity to put ASU on the board for the first time all day, but grounded the ball right back to Reed, who started the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

It seemed that when the Ducks needed a timely defensive stand, they came through, and most of the time it was shortstop J.J. Altobelli who was making the play. Altobelli was a part of both key double plays in the ballgame and continued to show his ability to handle any type of tricky hop on ground balls as he recorded key outs.

"He made some very difficult plays look pretty basic at shortstop with a wet ball and throwing accurately," Horton said.

The defensive stands made things easier on the pitching, which recorded 17 1/3 shutout innings before Sherfy, who picked up his fifth save, gave up a home run to Joey DeMichele in the top of the ninth.

The much needed victories come after Oregon had dropped three straight, including two on the road against Texas State earlier this week. Coming into the series, the Ducks had struggled to a 3-3 record in their first six conference matchups with Utah and Washington, who are ranked outside of the Top 25.

"We needed a bounce back effort," Horton said. "I didn't think it was drastically better, but we did have better energy from the bench and I think they were trying in character more."

Prior to Saturday, the Ducks were 2-11 all time against the Sun Devils and 1-8 since reinstatement. Though the Sun Devils are on probation, Horton said he's looking forward for the opportunity to pick up the sweep tomorrow against a highly ranked conference opponent.

"They're still a talented group, very well coached and it's a great accomplishment for our program in that we have two in the bank," Horton said. "Now we have an opportunity to do something really, really special."

The series finale starts at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

GAME NOTES –

Attendance at PK Park was 1,412.

Garlick's two home run game was the first in Ducks history.

Reed faced only 27 ASU batters during his start. Keudell faced 30 in his shutout in the early game.


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