Rice Ends Duck Season

EUGENE-The Rice Owls (44-18) ended the Ducks' (48-16) season Monday, capitalizing off of a tired Oregon bullpen to pound UO 11-4.

EUGENE-The Rice Owls (44-18) ended the Ducks' (48-16) season Monday, capitalizing off of a tired Oregon bullpen to pound UO 11-4.

A three-run top of the first put the Ducks in an early hole. Despite two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, things wouldn't get easier for starter Jake Reed, who was pitching on just two days rest.

Reed put down the first two batters in the second inning with little problem, but was pulled after facing just 10 batters when the next two batter reached base.

"He was just not as good on short rest. He didn't have thes same velocity or command and when they got off to a good a start that gives them the same momentum that we had yesterday," said Oregon coach George Horton.

A wild Christian Jones replaced Reed and threw just three strikes in his first 11 pitches before walking in a run and allowing another to score, extending the Duck deficit to three runs. Jones's struggles carried over into the third, where he allowed two more to score and the Ducks trailed 7-2.

"I think the spot that I brought Christian in on was the perfect spot if he was throwing in character," Horton said.

The Duck line-up would turn over in the bottom of the inning, but three hits only manufactured one run in the inning.

Opposing Reed was Rice's Zech Lemond, the Owls' closer. Unlike Reed, Lemond was able to stretch his spot start into the seventh inning, allowing just four runs, while striking out seven batters.

Tyler Baumgartner hit a two-out single to plate Connor Hofmann in the bottom of the seventh to force Lemond out. But with a batter on first base, Ryon Healy's power bat was forced to pop up to second base by Rice Friday-starter Austin Kubitza.

"We were just trying too hard all series and this park isn't too rewarding," Baumgartner said.

Three runs off of Jimmie Sherfy in the top of the ninth all but ended any hope of an Oregon rally.

With the loss, Rice will advance to the Super Regional hosted by NC State in Raleigh, NC. Oregon was one of just two teams hosting that failed to advance and the only National Seed that failed to do so.

"We're going to go to Omaha sooner or later," Horton said. "The names will be different on the roster, but we're going to go Omaha with this program, I can assure you. And I'm going to be the coach."

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