Eugene, Ore—The Ducks (12-11) returned to PK Park tonight after a long two-week road trip that saw the Ducks travel from Seattle to South Bend, Indiana to East Lansing Michigan. During that road trip, the Ducks went 2-2 in Seattle in a single game win against Seattle University and 1-2 in a three-game series against PAC 12 rival Washington. In their travels to the Midwest, the Ducks dropped a rain delayed single game to Notre Dame and then after the first two games of their series with Michigan State were rained out they dropped their single matchup to the Spartans. Oregon managed to pick up a win against the University of Portland on Wednesday evening to move them back to owning a winning record at 12-11.
With the Ducks needing to get a winning streak going before allowing their season to slip into mediocrity Oregon’s most tenured starter, Cole Irvin took the mound against the PAC 12 leading Cal Golden Bears.
Irvin didn’t look up to the task initially as Cal exploded for five runs in the first inning—and making it look easy at that. Three consecutive singles scored the first run of the evening before Bears’ left fielder Brenden Farney blew the inning open with a three-run jack to right field that landed on top of the Ducks bullpen overhang to make the game 4-0. The Ducks then added some self-inflicted damage when Daniel Patzlaff couldn’t complete a nice initial play at third by laying out for a ball down the third base line but then air mailed his throw into right field allowing Robbie Tenerowicz to score from first leaving the game at 5-0 before the inning ended.
The Ducks didn’t look too deflated as Austin Grebeck led off the Ducks half of the inning with a first pitch double. Kyle Kasser followed with a single and A.J. Balta with a walk to load the bases with no outs. With the table set, right fielder Jake Bennett, who has taken over clean up duties as of late, then singled to deep right center to drive in a pair of Ducks runs to make the score 5-2. The ball looked to be deep enough for a double but some shaky base running by A.J. Balta ahead of Bennett prevented any further advancement. After the game, George Horton commented on the play, "He [Balta] should’ve been part way there and that could’ve been a double and then we have second and third with no outs and having to bunt guys over.” The scoring threat ended there after three consecutive outs by Ducks batters.
Cal added a run in fourth after a small ball inning got the better of Cole Irvin. Bears right fielder poked a double down the third base line on a ball that he looked to be just trying to get a piece of to stay alive. Then Irvin muffed a bare handed throw to first on the way to pick up a sac bunt attempt that set up a sac fly for Aaron Knapp. The Bears scored another pair of runs in the fifth to move the score to 8-2 with the help of a Nick Halamandaris lead off home run and a couple of hits being strung together throughout the inning.
Irvin trotted back out to start the sixth inning but after surrendering a quick single and a double to lead off the inning George Horton had seen enough. Irvin’s night ended a tough night with a line of 15 hits allowed over just five innings of work and allowing seven earned runs. Isaiah Carranza came inherited the two base runners from Irvin and gave up a double scoring one to increase the Bears lead to 9-2 with the Ducks yet to record an out in the inning. Robbie Tenerowicz added two more runs on a single later in the inning to move the Bears into the double digits and put the score at 11-2.
After the game George Horton took some responsibility for Irvin’s poor outing, “I called the pitches so I’m gonna take some of the responsibility. They were obviously on it.” Horton didn’t take away from Cal’s effort though, “make no mistake about it, we were dominated.”
When the final out was recorded the final score read 12-2 Bears who recorded 21 hits in the game—the most the Ducks have allowed since their revival in ‘09. Bears left fielder Brenden Farney accounted for four and falling a triple short of a cycle, hitting a home run two doubles a single and three RBIs.
Matt Krook is the Ducks’ projected starter for tomorrow afternoon and will look to put this game far behind them.
Photo Credit: Ryan Lund