Mistakes Late Cost Ducks In Loss
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon led early and rallied back into the lead in the middle innings, but UCLA won Sunday to salvage a game in their series at PK Park, 7-6 in 10 innings.
The UO bullpen faltered after the Ducks rallied to lead 5-3 through six. After the Bruins forced extra innings and went up 7-5 in the 10th, Oregon answered with a run and was threatening to walk it off for the second day in a row before UCLA closed it out.
The Ducks had to settle for a series win that left them at 10-5 in the Pac-12, tied for first with Oregon State. No. 16 Oregon is now 24-9 overall.
"We won two out of three this weekend, and boy there's a lot of disappointment with not finishing off the weekend," UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. "… I'm very pleased with the overall effort of this baseball team. I love this baseball team. These guys show up to play every day, and they play hard. They're made of the right stuff, and that's why it burns so much in our locker room right now."
How It Happened: After a two-run home run by JT Schwartz put UCLA up 3-2 in the sixth, the Ducks rallied back in the bottom of the inning. Gabe Matthews walked to lead off the inning and moved up on a single by Sam Novitske, and Gavin Grant plated both runners with a one-out single. Tanner Smith followed with a single that scored Grant, and Oregon led 5-3.
The Bruins (23-13) got a run back in the seventh, then tied it in the eighth on a solo homer by Matt McLain. In the 10th, McLain led off with an infield single before Schwartz followed with his second home run of the game for a 7-5 lead.
Matthews doubled with one out in the bottom of the 10th and moved to third on a two-out infield single by pinch-hitter Nick Bellafronto. Pinch-hitter Tristan Hanoian then reached on a bunt that scored Matthews, but Smith grounded out to second to end the game.
The Ducks provided early support for starter Brett Walker when Anthony Hall doubled in the first and scored on a single by Aaron Zavala. The Bruins got a run back in the second, but Oregon answered in the bottom half when Novitske reached on a fielder's choice, moved up on a single by Jack Scanlon and scored on a base hit by Grant.
The Bruins chased Walker in the sixth after McLain walked with two out, Schwartz followed with his first homer of the game and the next batter also walked. Reliever Isaac Ayon entered and got the Ducks out of the inning, but each of the next three pitchers to appear out of the UO bullpen was scored upon.
Two big missed opportunities haunted the Ducks after the loss. In the bottom of the fifth with Oregon up 2-1, Hall singled to lead off the inning and Yovan was hit by a pitch. The Ducks were looking to tack on with two on and nobody out, and the heart of the order coming up. But Zavala popped out, and Josh Kasevich grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Then, in the top of the sixth, there were two out when McLain walked. With the count 2-0 on Schwartz, the Bruins executed a delayed steal, and two pitches later Schwartz hit the go-ahead homer.
"We lost the game in the sixth inning," Wasikowski said. "… Throw out the runner on a delayed steal, the rest of it doesn't happen."
On The Mound: Walker surrendered just two hits in 5.2 innings, but a hit batter came around to score in the second and a walk ahead of the sixth-inning homer by Schwartz proved costly. Hunter Breault took the loss after allowing the second homer by Schwartz in the 10th.
At The Plate: Grant drove in a season-high three runs, and was one of three Ducks with multiple hits, along with Hall and Matthews.
On Deck: The Ducks will host San Jose State for two midweek games beginning Tuesday at 4 p.m.