Eugene, Ore—After a pair of warm days with clear skies for the first two games of the Ducks and the Cal Golden Bears’ weekend series the weather turned to grey and chilly for the series finale rubber match. But the weather didn’t parallel the Ducks offensive performance this afternoon.
David Peterson was able to make his regularly scheduled start today after experiencing arm tightness earlier this week. Peterson threw a bullpen session on Friday before the series opener and George Horton reported he had the green light for today’s start with the caveat that he is on a pitch count.
The Ducks recent surge of power continued against Bears starter Matt Ladrech , as A.J. Balta got Oregon on the board via the long ball with a solo shot to right field. It was the Ducks second consecutive game with a first inning home run as well as Balta’s second consecutive game going deep. The Ducks have now racked up three home runs over the last two games which is uncharacteristic of this small ball team and especially so in the pitcher friendly confines of PK Park.
Peterson ended up going only three innings before succumbing to his mandated pitch count. Two walks and three hit batters contributed to his early exit but he did manage to leave the game unscathed without allowing any hits or runs. George Horton commented on Peterson’s outing after the game, “His pitch count was 50 and he went 58, partly because he threw 46 in the first two innings… but he got three zeros for us.”
Freshman Matt Mercer replaced Peterson in the top of the fourth. Peterson’s three innings of clean ball were quickly erased as Mercer gave up a leadoff double to Robbie Tenerowicz, beaned Preston Grand Pre, and gave up a one out triple to Bears leadoff man Devin Pearson to clear the bases and put Cal ahead 2-1. Not wanting to let the game get out of hand Horton brought in Kyle Robeniol after Mercer recorded a strikeout in an attempt to limit the damage. Robeniol was able to get out of the inning on one pitch.
Cal’s Ladrech managed to make it into the fifth before giving up another run. Daniel Patzlaff led off with a double and was singled in two batters later by Travis Moniot to tie the game back up at two runs apiece. Senior Keaton Siomkin replaced Ladrech after allowing Austin Grebeck to reach on a bunt single. Siomkin labored through the top half of the Ducks lineup allowing consecutive RBIs to Kyle Kasser, A.J. Balta, Jake Bennett and Steven Packard before being replaced by Joey Matulovich. Tim Susnara added to the consecutive RBI streak with a single that scored Packard from second. When the inning finally ended two batters later the score was 7-2 Ducks.
The Bears dug into the Ducks lead scoring three runs in the top of the sixth to make the score 7-5. George Horton cycled through three pitchers in the inning while the Bears collected base runners just about every way you can with a single, walk and a hit batter. Mitchell Kranson collected a two run double to do the majority of the damage in the inning.
The Ducks added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth and nearly batted around for the second consecutive inning. Erik Martinez gave up three hits and allowed three walks to help put four more runs on the board for Oregon making it 11-5 heading into the seventh.
The last three innings of the game went by quietly with three pairs of zeros on the scoreboard. Stephen Nogosek came in for the ninth and pitched a one hit inning that sealed the game and the series win for the Ducks. “We got thumped on Friday and I promised you guys we’d come back and play hard… by getting the series that’s a great accomplishment. That’s a great baseball team [Cal],” Geroge Horton said after the win. This is the first time Oregon has strung together a pair of wins since the first week of March and their first series win since beating UC Santa Barbara during that same week.
Photo Credit: Ryan Lund