UCSB skipper Andrew Checketts handed the ball to freshman @Noah Davis to try and get his club back on track. Today was Davis’ third appearance of the season and came into the start with eight and two-thirds innings pitched in his first two starts of the season, an ERA of 7.27 and a 1-0 record. Despite his rocky stat line, the Gauchos won both of Davis’ first two starts.
After yesterday's big win the Ducks needed a solid start from junior Matt Krook in order to keep the club rolling. Krook is still looking for a marquee outing to hang his hat on this season. Granted the offense didn’t help him out much he had an up & down start in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Illinois State, where Krook went seven full innings only giving up two hits and one run but he also walked five and had to get himself out of several jams.
Krook’s inconsistency continued, pitching on two ends of the spectrum throughout the first three innings in which he racked up six strikeouts, but also gave up four free bases by hitting three batters and walking another. The first third of the game can probably be viewed as a microcosm of Krook’s season thus far.
After yesterday’s offensive explosion the Duck’s bats went dormant, collecting only one hit off of UCSB’s Davis—who hadn’t gone deeper into a game than five innings so far this season.
Gaucho’s shortstop Clay Fisher was a big part of keeping the Ducks off the base path, making two big plays deep in the hole between short and third, and making a leaping grab to rob Duck’s backup catcher Slade Heggen of a hit in the fifth.
Unfortunately for UCSB, the offense wasn’t matching the defensive effort as they failed to record any hits through the first eight innings despite Krook allowing six free passes with walks and hit batters.
By the start of the sixth inning Matt Krook had managed to up his strikeout count to 10—moving within one of tying his personal record—by striking out four consecutive batters to end the fourth and setting the Gauchos down in order in the fifth. Krook then proceeded to strikeout J.J. Muno, who was leading off the sixth, to tie his personal record; but keeping in the theme of the game, Krook hit his next batter to tie the club record for hit batters in a game and then walked the next batter after that. Krook was able to settle down and get the next two batters, the latter via strikeout to set a new personal record at 12.
Because of the plethora of free bases, a high pitch count came into play in Krook’s outing and he was forced out of the game with a no-hitter on the line. “ I knew I was throwing a lot of pitches and just making some stupid mistakes, walking guys, hitting guys… it just got way too high, too fast,” Krook said after his outing. He finished with a line of six complete innings, no hits, two walks, four hit batters and managed to bring his season ERA down to 1.59. His offense once again failed to give him any sort of support, scoring no runs and leaving him with his third no-decision—one for each of his outings this year. Austin Grebeck expressed his frustration after the game that the offense couldn’t give Krook any run support, “yeah it is frustrating, we always want to back our staff but we couldn’t do it, and last week we couldn’t do it so we gotta come out next week and put some runs on the board for him.”
Freshman Kyle Robeniol came in for Krook and threw a clean seventh and eight but allowed the Gauchos first hit of the game to right fielder Michael McAdoo.
Gaucho’s starting pitcher Noah Davis turned a solid performance to keep his bullpen fresh on the back of five consecutive 1-2-3 innings from the fourth through the eighth where his night ended with a final line of eight innings, five Ks, two walks and only allowing a single hit. Sophomore lefty Kyle Nelson relieved Davis in the ninth after Stephen Nogosek pitched to four batters in the top of the ninth for the Ducks.
Nelson walked Daniel Patzlaff to lead off the bottom of the ninth after a brief full count foul ball battle. Center fielder then sac bunted Patzlaff over to set the table for a walk-off hit for A.J. Balta who struck out. Ducks Head Coach, George Horton then opted to pinch hit for Jakob Goldfarb and gave veteran Nick Catalano an opportunity to seal the win for the Ducks but couldn’t get a hard hit ball passed Gaucho’s shortstop Clay Fisher who had an excellent day on defense.
Stephen Nogosek stayed in to pitch the ninth for Oregon and ran into a little trouble when Travis Moniot and A.J. Balta had some miscommunication on a pop fly from J.J. Muno to shallow left and ultimately fell to the ground after Balta couldn’t get his full glove on it. The play resulted in an error and Muno moved to second on a wild pitch shortly after. Nogosek walked catcher Dempsey Grover and then proceeded to have an all out war with Gauchos clean up hitter Austin Bush. After filling the count and several foul balls Bush singled to center and Muno raced for home. Austin Grebeck fielded the ball cleanly on one hop and fired the ball home to Tim Susnara who tagged out Muno who was attempting to leap over Susnara on the play. The inning ended on the next batter when Michael McAdoo flew out to left.
After two quick extra innings by both teams, the Gauchos presented the first threat of the extra innings when Andrew Calica worked an infield single and moving into scoring position with a J.J. Muno sac bunt. Austin Bush was later intentionally walked and put Michael McAdoo in position to put the game’s first points on the board. The Ducks brought in Brac Warren to face McAdoo and promptly sat him down in four pitches to end the scoring threat. The Gauchos threatened again after getting runners on first and third in the 13th but Warren again pitched himself out of it.
The Ducks got their first real shot to win the game in the bottom of the 13th when both Tim Susnara and Travis Moniot collected infield singles. Mark Karaviotis was then hit by a pitch leaving the bases loaded with two outs for leadoff man Austin Grebeck. But the extra innings continued when Grebeck just missed a grand slam flying out to the warning track in left field.
The tie was finally broken in the top of the 14th when Cooper Stiles added to Oregon’s total of hit batters—making it 5, for a new club record—and allowed J.J. Muno to make it all the way home by way of a Michael McAdoo hit. Stiles left the game after hitting another batter and Isaiah Carranza came in to finish the inning without any further damage.
The Ducks went down in order to Kyle Nelson who took over for starter Noah Davis in the ninth and finished the game off with the victory in the 14-inning marathon of a matchup.
After the game Ducks skipper George Horton joked, “Coach Checketts and I hugged… and said that was a heck of a pillow fight there.” Referring to the flow of the game being largely sloppy on both sides. “We didn’t play the game very well… we’ll see if we can play a little better [tomorrow], free bases, wild pitches, not executing pitch outs… so obviously, I’m disappointed in the way we handled our end.”
The Ducks and the Gauchos return to PK Park tomorrow at 12 noon for the rubber match of their three game series. David Peterson is slated for his third start of the season and will look to build on a successful start last week after grabbing a win in eight innings of work.