Four home runs spark Ducks to win
LOS ANGELES – Oregon tied a modern-era Ducks record hitting four home runs en route to a decisive 13-4 Pac-12 Conference win over USC on Saturday at Dedeaux Field.
The Ducks hit three homers in the second inning and added a fourth bomb in the fourth inning to mark the third time an Oregon team has gone yard four times in a game since baseball returned to Eugene before the 2009 season.
The 2010 team set the modern-era home run record with four in a 19-10 win over Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on April 21, 2010. The 2013 team matched the record when it hit four in a 10-4 win at California on April 13, 2013.
How It Happened: After a scoreless first inning, Oregon put together a seven-run second inning with the first six batters stringing together hits with a double, two singles, another double and then back-to-back home runs.
Aaron Zavala led off the big inning with a scorched double up the middle before Josh Kasevich moved him to second with a base hit and Gabe Matthews drove him home with a single to right field.
Sam Novitske picked up the first of his two RBI on the day driving in Kasevich with a double into the left-center field gap and moving Matthews to third. Both would score when Jack Scanlon launched a three-run shot off the scoreboard in right field for a five-run lead.
Gavin Gant made it 6-0 on the next pitch with a solo home run over the left-field fence. After a pair of outs, Kenyon Yovan capped the inning with a solo bomb over the center-field wall.
USC (17-12, 6-5 Pac-12) got a run back in the third, but Oregon (21-8, 7-4) answered with five runs in the top of the fourth to take complete control of the game.
Grant started the rally with a single and moved to second on a Tanner Smith walk. Anthony Hall jumped on a 0-1 pitch and hit a three-run homer to right for a 10-1 lead. After an out, back-to-back walks by Zavala and Kasevich set the table for Matthews who singled, his third hit of the game, and drove in Zavala. Novitske picked up Kasevich with a sacrifice fly and Oregon's lead was 12-1.
The Trojans scored twice in their half of the inning, but Oregon got one back in the top of the fifth thanks to some help from the Trojans and some hustle from Smith.
The Ducks' leadoff man reached with a base hit with one out in the inning and came around to score from first on an error by Trojan second baseman Tyresse Turner.
Oregon's relievers took it from there after taking over for starter Cullen Kafka who struggled through four-plus innings. Freshman Isaac Ayon relieved Kafka after back-to-back walks to lead off the fifth inning, and immediately got out of the jam without allowing a run behind a pair of strikeouts and a pop out to the catcher.
Sophomore Caleb Sloan pitched two scoreless innings before freshman Rio Britton got the final three outs in the ninth.
Inside the Box Score: Oregon's seven extra-base hits (4 home runs, 3 doubles) matched the total from Wednesday's win over Portland and were the second most in a game this season … Matthews went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored … It was his fifth consecutive game with multiple hits and his sixth in the last seven … He ran his career total to 55 games with multiple-hits (fourth all-time) and his season total to 11 (second on the team) … With the two RBI, he now has six multi-RBI games this season and 27 in his career (fifth all-time) … Smith went 2-for-5 with two runs scored … It was his third consecutive game with multiple hits, the 10th of the season and the 24th of his career … Grant finished 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored … It was his third multi-hit game this season and the sixth of his career … Hall and Scanlon both finished with three RBI … It was Hall's third multiple-RBI game of the season and the sixth of his career … Scanlon picked up his first multiple-RBI game of the season and the third of his career … Novitske finished with two RBI, his third multi-RBI game of the season and the sixth of his career … Three Ducks' relievers combined to toss five innings allowing just one run on three hits with five strikeouts … Sloan earned his first career win as a Duck.
The last time: In addition to Oregon last hitting four home runs in a game in 2013, the Ducks also had three home runs in an inning for the first time since March of 2018 and had back-to-back homers for the first time since April of the same year … The three bombs by Scanlon, Grant and Yovan in the second inning marked the first time since Matthews, Jakob Goldfarb and Jonny DeLuca went deep three times in the top of the fourth inning in a 10-1 win at No. 3 Stanford on March 29, 2018 … Scanlon and Grant's back-to-back jacks were the first consecutive homers hit since DeLuca and Ray Soderman did it at San Francisco in the second inning of a 5-2 win over the Dons on April 2, 2018.
On Deck: Oregon and USC will meet in the rubber match of the series Sunday at noon.