Ducks pick up Pac-12 series win over ASU
EUGENE – Robby Ashford's speed and more good Oregon pitching and defense sparked the No. 16 Ducks to a 5-3 victory, and a series win, over Arizona State on Sunday in Pac-12 Conference action at PK Park.
The Ducks' freshman center fielder, who is also a quarterback on the Oregon football team, scored runs in the fifth and eighth innings to help push the Ducks to the win. Ashford's first run gave Oregon the lead for good and the second gave the Ducks (10-4, 2-1 Pac-12) some cushion heading into the ninth inning.
Starter Brett Walker (2-1) and relievers Nico Tellache and Kolby Somers combined to hold a potent Arizona State (12-5, 1-2) offense to just one run over the final eight innings. The pitchers got some help behind them as shortstop Josh Kasevich made a sensational play for the second consecutive day, robbing ASU of a run in the top of the third inning.
How It Happened: The Sun Devils jumped out to an early lead scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, but Oregon rallied in its half of the inning cutting the lead in half.
Tanner Smith led off the Ducks' half of the inning with a triple into the left-field corner. Kenyon Yovan followed with a RBI double into the right-center field gap to cut the lead to 2-1.
Oregon tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third. Gavin Grant led off with a single and moved to third on a Smith base hit and a Yovan ground-ball double play. With two outs, Grant scored on a passed ball when Arizona State catcher Sam Ferri had the ball go off his mitt to the backstop.
In the fifth, Ashford tripled to left center to lead off the inning and scored the go-ahead run when Grant hit into a double play. Sam Novitske drove in a run in the sixth when he hit into a one-out fielder's choice that he beat the throw to first on to allow Yovan to score.
ASU cut the lead to one in the top of the eighth, but Ashford got it back. He reached on a base hit through the right side, his second hit of the day. Ashford then forced a balk to move to second and stole third, allowing him to score on a Grant sacrifice fly.
Somers came in to get the final three outs and pick up his third save.
Inside the Box Score: Zavala went 2-for-4 for his second multi-hit game in the series … It was Zavala's sixth multi-hit game of the season and the 23rd of his career … Zavala, who improved his season batting average to .429, extended his reached base streak to 14 games this season and 16 dating back to last season … Yovan's first-inning double extended his hitting streak to nine games … He has reached base in 27 consecutive games dating back to the 2018 season (he redshirted in 2019 appearing in just one game as a pitcher) … Ashford's multiple hit game was the first of his career … Nico Tellache made his 68th career appearance, moving into sole possession of seventh all-time at Oregon … The Ducks had their consecutive innings without an error streak snapped at 62 in the first inning when catcher Jack Scanlon overthrew second base on a steal attempt allowing a runner from third to score.
Series Notes: The Oregon pitching staff finished the series with a 3.33 ERA holding the Sun Devils to just 10 runs on 26 hits in 27 innings with 22 Ks and just eight walks … Oregon's three starters combined to allow six runs in 19 innings (2.84 ERA) on 14 hits with 17 strikeouts and four walks … Zavala led Oregon's offense batting .667 (6-of-9) with a .750 OBP and a .778 slugging percentage … Smith batted .385 (5-for-13) with a double, triple and RBI … Yovan went 3-for-9 in the series with his sixth home run of the season and three RBI … He also tied Zavala with a team-high three walks … Novitske led the Ducks with four RBI in the series.
What Coach Waz had to say:
"He had hell of a game. He impacted the game today. He hit a line-drive over the shortstop's head which got by two speedy outfielders at the left-center field wall at an amazing rate."
"The kid is a real talent. We don't even know how good he is, we are still trying to figure it out. He impacted the baseball game at a very high level and it is just exciting to see a player of his talents in an Oregon uniform."
On Friends and Family being at the game:
"To have these young people experience some joy and have their families experience some joy under the guise of it being safe, I think it is just fantastic. I am all for it, I love it! I love when I see kids smiling"
"Wow. Josh Kasevich, wow."
On Deck: Oregon steps out of conference play for a Tuesday game against Portland (4 p.m.) at PK Park, before returning to Pac-12 play at Arizona on Friday.