Matthews sets new UO career hits record
LOS ANGELES – Senior Gabe Matthews set a new Oregon record for career hits with a third-inning single but it wasn't enough as the No. 14 Ducks dropped a 9-5 decision to USC in a Pac-12 Conference game at Dedeaux Field on Friday night.
Matthews singled up the middle to lead off the top of the third inning and in the process set a new Oregon record with his 212th career hit. The Ducks' first baseman broke the record held by J.J. Altobelli, who had 2 11 hits from 2010-13, in his 206th career game and his 201st career start. Altobelli played in 232 games, while starting an Oregon record 229.
The hits title is the second school record that Matthews has set this season. The Salem native became the all-time doubles king at Oregon against Portland on April 6 when he roped his 48th career two-bagger. He has since added to more to run his total to 50.
How It Happened: Oregon (20-8, 6-4 Pac-12) built an early three-run lead scoring two in the first and one in the fourth. Aaron Zavala put the Ducks on top scoring Anthony Hall on a ground out after Hall singled to reach base, moved to second on a Kenyon Yovan walk and to third on a wild pitch. Josh Kasevich made it 2-0 with a RBI single scoring Yovan.
Matthews led off the fourth with a hit and moved to third on a Sam Novitske base knock. Jack Scanlon picked up the RBI, scoring Matthews with a sacrifice fly to center field.
USC (17-11, 6-4 Pac-12) got a run back in the bottom of the inning with a little help from the Ducks. D'Andre Smith singled to lead off the inning and then moved to third on a Robert Ahlstrom throwing error on a failed pick-off attempt. Smith scored on a Ben Ramirez ground out.
Oregon pushed the lead back to three runs in the top of the fifth. Zavala reached on a one-out double and scored on a Matthews RBI single.
The Trojans answered with four in their half of the fifth to take the lead, thanks to a bad-hop RBI single, a bloop RBI double, a fielder's choice and a triple.
Tyresse Turner tacked on two more runs for the Trojans with a two-run homer over the left field wall to make it 7-4, before Oregon answered with a run in the top of the eighth on a Hall RBI ground out. The Trojans added some insurance in the bottom of the eighth scoring two more runs.
Inside the Box Score: Five Ducks had multiple hit games led by Tanner Smith who went 3-for-5 in the leadoff spot … It was Smith's ninth multi-hit game of the season and the 23rd of his career … Zavala, who entered the game leading the nation in on-base percentage while ranking 10th in batting average and 14th in walks, went 2-for-5 with a RBI, and run scored … It was his 13th multi-hit game of the season and the 31st of his career … Matthews finished 2-for-4 with a RBI, run scored and a walk, recording his 10th multi-hit game of the season and 54th in his career … Kasevich (2-for-4, RBI) also had his 10th multi-hit game of the season and the 12th of his career … His RBI gave him seven for the week after he drove in six in Wednesday's win at Portland … Novitske went 2-for-4 for his fifth multi-hit game of the season and the 26th of his career … Ahlstrom (2-3) took the loss allowing five runs (4 earned) on seven hits in 6.0 innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
Matthews record watch: The hits and doubles records are just two of a number of categories that Matthews is moving toward breaking … Against USC, he drove in one run to move into third in career RBI with 119, passing Ryon Healy (2011-13) … He needs 11 more to break Spencer Steer's (2017-19) record … Matthews also scored his 109th career run which ranks fifth all-time and just two out of third … He needs to score 27 more times to break Aaron Payne's (2011-14) record … His four at-bats on Friday game him 740 for his career which ranks second all-time, just 62 behind all-time leader Altobelli … Matthews walked once against USC, his 112th which ranks second all-time, moving him to within 21 of all-time leader Guy Krause (1971-74) … His two hits gave him his 54th multi-hit game, which ranks fourth just four behind all-time leader Danny Pulfer (2009-11) … Matthews also started his 201st career game, good for No. 2 on the all-time list and just 28 behind Altobelli.
On Deck: Oregon will look to even the series Saturday at 2 p.m. when the teams meet in game two of the three-game series.