Ducks open Utah series with win
OGDEN, Utah – Oregon scored single runs in five of the first six innings before adding two insurance runs in the top of the ninth in a 7-3 Pac-12 Conference win at Utah on Friday.
The Ducks moved to 31-11 on the season, including a 15-7 Pac-12 Conference record. The 15 league wins are the most by the Ducks since the 2015 season when they finished 16-14 in Pac-12 play. Utah dropped to 14-27, 5-17 in the Pac-12 Conference.
How It Happened: Oregon jumped on top in the top of the first inning, scoring its first of four two-out runs in the game. Kenyon Yovan scored from second on a fielding error by Utah second baseman Chase Fernlund on a Gabe Matthews ground ball.
Utah answered with a run in the bottom of the first, snapping Robert Ahlstrom's 14-inning scoreless streak, but Oregon regained the lead in the top of the second. Anthony Hall reached on a double, moved to third on a Sam Novitske ground out and scored on a throwing error by Utes' catcher Jayden Kiernan on a failed pickoff attempt.
Aaron Zavala made it 3-1 in the top of the third, lining his seventh home run of the season over the right-field wall with two outs.
Utah cut the lead to a run with a fourth inning run on a solo home run, the first long ball given up by Ahlstrom this season, before Oregon answered with single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings for a 5-2 lead.
Matthews doubled with two outs in the inning to get the rally started in the fifth, before moving to third on a wild pitch. After a Kasevich walk, Hall doubled to score Matthews for a two-run lead. Tanner Smith added a two-out solo no-doubt about it home run, his fifth of the season, over the right-center wall in the sixth for a three-run lead.
Utah scored an unearned run in the seventh, but the Ducks bullpen shut down the Utes in the final two innings. Andrew Mosiello got the first two outs of the eighth, before Kolby Somers came in to get a strikeout to end a Utah threat.
Oregon tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth. The Ducks loaded the bases on Kasevich and Hall walks and a Novitske hit-by-pitch, before Jack Scanlon drove in a pair with a single to left field. Somers retired all three batters in the bottom of the ninth to pick up the save.
Box Score Notes: The two teams combined to strand 24 runners, 12 by each squad … Both teams left eight in scoring position … Four Oregon pitchers combined to fan 13 Utah batters with Ahlstrom (5.2 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER) leading the way with nine … Ahlstrom moved to 6-3 on the season … Somers picked up his ninth save, retiring all four batters he faced including an inning-ending strikeout in the eighth with the tying run at the plate … Somers moved into a tie with Garrett Cleavinger (2015) for sixth on the single season saves list at Oregon and into sole possession of the career saves list with 10 … Scanlon (1-for-5, 2 RBI) had his second multi-RBI game of the season and the third of his career … Smith (2-for-6, HR, RBI, R) had his 17th multi-hit game of the season and the 31st of his career … Gabe Matthews (2-for-5, R) had his 61st career multi-hit game, extending his school record, and his 16th multiple-hit game of the season … Josh Kasevich reached base four times with a hit and a career-high three walks … Oregon moved to 9-3 on Friday night's, while winning its fourth straight series opener.
On Deck: Oregon and Utah will meet in game two of their series on Saturday with a 3:05 p.m. first pitch. Cullen Kafka (4-2, 2.55) will take the mound for Oregon, while former Duck Kyle Robeniol (1-4, 6.29) pitches for the Utes.