"It's a pretty big deal," Keudell said of the accomplishment.
After a shaky first inning where he racked up nearly 30 pitches, Keudell (10-3) settled in nicely, giving up only one hit over the next five innings. The right-hander struck out five Redhawks, giving up only one walk in 7 2/3 innings. He allowed only one runner past first base after the first inning and never faced a real threat en route to his ninth straight victory.
The Ducks offense supported Keudell early, picking up two runs in the first inning. They loaded the bases via two singles and a walk off of Redhawks starter Seafth Howe before left fielder Brett Thomas knocked in Aaron Payne as he grounded into a double play. Right fielder Kyle Garlick followed with a ground rule double to right field that scored Aaron Jones.
"After those first two runs, especially when your team gets on the board early, it's nice to be able to relax a little bit at least and know that you can just throw strikes and know that you have a run or two to work with," Keudell said.
Howe (4-5) then matched Keudell for most of the game, facing the minimum amount of batters in four of the next six innings. But, in the eighth inning Howe ran out of magic. Connor Hofmann set off a strange series of events during the inning with an inside the park home run and the Ducks proceeded to roll through the rest of their lineup, putting eight runners on base.
"I looked over to the outfield and the guy was jogging to the ball so I just kept going and hustled all the way home," Hoffman said. "Luckily I made it."
Redhawks reliever Kyle Doyle balked in another run before even throwing a pitch, and the Ducks scored two more runs on a bases loaded walk and a RBI bunt single by Kevin Shepherd to make it 6-0.
Ducks reliever Tommy Thorpe, who came on with two outs in the eighth inning, registered the last four outs with strikeouts to finish up the shutout. But the night belonged to Keudell, who in his four years at Oregon has gone from the bullpen to team ace while essentially flying under the radar.
UO head coach George Horton exclaimed his displeasure with Keudell being left off a pitcher of the year nominee list and defended his pitcher's portfolio of work that includes defeating elite conference pitchers such as Stanford's Mark Appel and Arizona's Kurt Heyer.
"Arguably, if Al has a good outing against Oregon State and he doesn't get the Pac-12 pitcher of the year, I'm going to have an inquiry on that too," Horton said.
The Ducks and Redhawks continue their series on Saturday at 2 p.m.
GAME NOTES –
Attendance at PK Park was 1,993.
Payne, Garlick, and J.J. Altobelli each extended their consecutive games reached base streaks on Friday night. Payne's streak stands at 12 games, Garlick's at 11 games, and Altobelli's at a season high 14 games.
The Ducks left five men on base to the Redhawks seven.