Ducks take game one from UCLA
EUGENE – Robert Ahlstrom and Kolby Somers combined for a stellar night on the mound and Oregon's offense came up big late to lead the No. 14 Ducks to a 5-3 win over UCLA in the Pac-12 Conference series opener on Friday night at PK Park.
Ahlstrom (3-3) was masterful pitching into the ninth inning for the second time in his career. He held UCLA (22-12, 9-7 Pac-12) to just one run through eight innings before allowing three consecutive hits and a run to open the ninth before being relieved by Somers.
The Ducks' closer allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on a fielder's choice, but he was able to leave the tying run on base with a ground out to end the game and pick up the save.
How It Happened: Ahlstrom and UCLA starter Zach Pettway (1-3) battled through the early stages of the game with the Bruins taking a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning after scoring on a sacrifice fly in the third.
The Ducks (23-8, 9-4 Pac-12) tied the game in their half of the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Sam Novitske and Gavin Grant.
Oregon finally took its first lead in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs. Anthony Hall led of seventh with a single and came around to score the go-ahead run on a Kenyon Yovan double that one-hopped the wall in the right-center field gap. After an Aaron Zavala walk and Josh Kasevich sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third, Gabe Matthews loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch.
Sam Novitske, who batted .529 in four games last week, kept swinging a hot bat singling between the shortstop and third baseman to score Yovan and Zavala. Matthews made it 5-1 scoring on a two-out error by UCLA first baseman JT Scwartz.
Ahlstrom returned to the mound and got a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the eighth to extend his streak to 17 straight batters retired. UCLA snapped the streak to lead off the ninth with back-to-back seeing-eye singles through the infield, before Matt McLain singled solidly into left field to drive in a run and end Ahlstrom's night.
Box Score Notes: Somers moved into a tie for eighth all-time in single season saves with seven, tying Drew Gagnier (2009) … Somers also recorded his eighth career save which allowed him to crack the career top 10 at Oregon, tying Ryne Nelson (2017-19), Madison Boer (2009-11) and Kellen Moen (2010-11) for eighth … Ahlstrom (8.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 8 K) worked into the ninth inning for the second time in his career … He went 8.1 innings in a loss to Oregon State in 2019 … The Ducks' starter recorded his fourth quality start of the season … Novitske went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored … It was his third straight game with multiple RBI and his fifth game this season with more the one run driven in … He had multiple hits for the second consecutive game and the fourth time in the last five games and fifth time in the last seven games … It was his seventh multi-hit game of the season.
On Deck: The Ducks and Bruins meet in game two of the series Saturday at PK Park. Cullen Kafka (4-1, 2.44) gets the start for Oregon, while Sean Mullen (7-1, 2.56) will take the mound for UCLA.