Ducks use long ball to wrap up sweep of Huskies
EUGENE – Oregon belted four home runs while Brett Walker allowed just two runs in seven innings to give the Ducks a 9-3 win and a series sweep of Washington at PK Park on Sunday.
The four home runs were the most ever at PK Park by an Oregon team and matched the Ducks' modern day era record for long balls in a game. The Ducks also hit four homers at USC earlier this season (April 7), while previously hitting four homers at California on April 13, 2013, and at Gonzaga on April 10, 2010.
Oregon (30-11, 14-7 Pac-12) swept the Huskies (17-24, 3-15 Pac-12) for just the second time in the modern era, joining the 2013 team that won three straight games from Washington in Eugene.
How It Happened: Washington took an early lead off Walker scoring a run in the top of the first, but the Ducks came right back with the first of their four home runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Gabe Matthews jumped on the first pitch he saw from Washington starter Adam Bloebaum (1-4) and hit a line drive over the fence in right field to tie the game at one.
The Huskies added a run in the top of the second on a leadoff home run off Walker to regain the lead, but he was able to take command after that run. The Ducks' right-hander allowed just two runners past first base between the second-inning home run and the end of the seventh.
He picked off the first of those two to end the fourth inning, while striking out the final batter of the fifth inning after a two-out single and a balk put a runner in scoring position.
After the second-inning home run, Walker retired 15 of the next 18 batters he faced before finishing his day with a soft-line out that turned into a double play when Washington's Braiden Ward was doubled up on the play on a hit-and run.
After Matthews' homer, the next seven Ducks went down in order through the end of the third inning. Kenyon Yovan put an end to that streak drilling the third pitch of the bottom of the fourth inning over the left-field wall for his 11th home run of the year and a tie game.
The Ducks took control in the bottom of the fifth. Gavin Grant reached on an error to start the rally, moved to second on a Tanner Smith walk and scored on a Yovan base hit to right field.
After Matthews walked to load the bases, Aaron Zavala lined a triple into the right-center field gap scoring all three runners to put the Ducks on top by four. Josh Kasevich plated Zavala with a RBI single to finish the five-run inning.
Oregon tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning on a pair of solo homers. Zavala drilled a mammoth shot onto the roof of the indoor hitting facility behind the Ducks' bullpen in right field. Not to be outdone, Anthony Hall hit one off the videoboard in right-center field one batter later.
Box Score Notes: Walker (7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K) picked up the win running his record to 5-2. The quality start was his fifth of the season … Zavala (2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R) had his second four-RBI game of the season … It was also his fifth multi-RBI game of the season and his 18th multi-hit game of the year … His career totals are now 36 multi-hit and 19 multi-RBI games … Yovan (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) moved into a tie for sixth with Ryon Healy (2013) and Keith Lampard (1965) on the single-season home run list at Oregon with his 11th … He also moved into a tie for eighth with Don Reynolds (1972[75) and Jim Willis (1973-74) for career home runs with 18 … Matthews (1-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 R, 2 BB) moved into a tie for sixth with Healy (2011-13) in career home runs with 19 … He also moved into a tie with Mitchell Tolman (2013-2015) for second in career RBI with 128, one behind Spencer Steer (2017-19) for the all-time lead … Hall (2-for-4, HR, R) hit his third homer of the season and had the eighth multi-hit game of the season and the 11th of his career … Kasevich (2-for-5, RBI) finished with his 14th multi-hit game of the season and the 16th of his career … Sam Novitske (1-for-3, BB) made two highlight-reel defensive plays at third base … Smith, who walked twice, started his 88th consecutive game, tying Jonny DeLuca (2018-19) for the fifth longest streak in modern era school history.
Series Notes: Oregon's pitching staff finished the series with a 1.33 ERA while holding the Huskies to a .223 batting average … Oregon three starters (Robert Ahlstrom, Cullen Kafka, Brett Walker) combined to allow just three runs in 19.2 innings (1.37 ERA) … Ducks closer Kolby Somers fanned six of the seven batters he faced in two outings … Four Ducks batted over .300 in the series with Kasevich and Smith leading the way at .333 … Matthews and Gavin Grant both hit .300 … Kasevich and Smith led the team with five RBI … Smith had a team-best .750 slugging percentage with a .429 OBP … Oregon hit six homers in the series … The Ducks ran their win total to 30.
Zavala on the series sweep:
"It felt good. After losing the series last weekend, and coming in this weekend and getting the sweep. Also, getting some momentum to finish off the last couple series' in the Pac. So, it's pretty big."
Brett Walker on the overall feel:
"I felt good. After the first two innings we had some big momentum shifts with the defense and myself."
Brett Walker on the defense:
"It's great to have a good defense behind you, and our offense has been great, so as a pitcher you always want the runs. I mean, it's sweet."
"Defense kind of causes the momentum to shift, and we did that, and took advantage of it on the offensive side, too."
Coach Wasikowski's overall impression of the weekend:
"Got the conference sweep! I think it was a great team weekend. The pitching staff hit two and only walked three the entire weekend. As well as they did, I thought it was spectacular.
"Some really good defensive plays out there today that were momentum plays."
"It was a really good day to be a Duck."
Coach Wasikowski on Brett Walker:
"There was a real tipping point of momentum going on early in that ball game. I think the quick game really helped him. I think getting out of that fourth inning was a monster deal to him continuing to pitch."
Coach Wasikowski on the offense:
"I loved it. They were just relentless. When you're able to put crooked numbers on the board, like the five-run fifth inning was monster. Then, to come back in the seventh inning to put another two on. Those were just big time deals, and that two could have been a heck of a lot more."
On Deck: Oregon's two midweek games with Gonzaga have been canceled because of COVID-19 issues in the Bulldogs program. The Ducks return to the field Friday in Ogden, Utah where they will meet Utah in game one of a three-game Pac-12 Conference series.