Matthews sets RBI record, Ducks notch top-25 win
EUGENE – Gabe Matthews set his fourth career Oregon record while the No. 13 Ducks used a balanced offensive attack to pull away from No. 25 Gonzaga in a 10-3 nonconference win on Tuesday at PK Park.
Matthews drove in a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to give him the career RBI record at Oregon, while also helping the Ducks take command with a four-run lead. The two RBI gave Matthews 130 for his career, breaking Spencer Steer's (2017-19) record. Matthews and Steer came to Oregon in the same recruiting class and played the corner infield spots for Oregon in each of Steer's three years at Oregon.
Matthews' RBI record is just the latest career record he has set this year. He broke the doubles record against Portland on April 6, before setting a new hits record at USC on April 16. He added the multi-hit games record against San Jose State on April 28.
How It Happened: Gonzaga took the early lead scoring a pair of runs in the second and another in the third, but Oregon (34-11) bounced back scoring all 10 of its runs over three innings after GU (30-14) took the 3-0 lead.
Tanner Smith started a four-run third inning rally with a one-out double. Kenyon Yovan followed with a two-run blast to cut the Bulldogs lead to one.
Aaron Zavala drew his first of two walks in the game and moved to second on a Matthews hit-by-pitch. Josh Kasevich lined a shot off Gonzaga starter Nico Zeglin's leg that ricocheted all the way to Oregon's dugout allowing Zavala to score the tying run and ending Zeglin's outing.
Anthony Hall gave the Ducks the lead for good with a sacrifice fly, before Gonzaga finally got out of the inning.
The Ducks tacked on a run in the fifth to make it a two-run game. Kasevich singled to lead off the inning and later scored on a perfectly executed double-steal with Sam Novitske swiping second and Kasevich breaking for home on the throw to second.
Oregon blew it open in the sixth with a five-run inning. Smith reached on hit-by-pitch and Yovan drove him in with a double into the right-center field gap.
Zavala doubled and Yovan moved to third setting up Matthews' record-breaker. The Ducks first baseman lined a 3-2 pitch into the right-center gap scoring both Zavala and Yovan. Kasevich knocked Matthews in before scoring on a Jack Scanlon RBI double.
Box Score Notes: Oregon finished with 12 hits, the fifth consecutive game the Ducks have had double-digit hits … The Ducks' pitching staff finished with nine strikeouts, marking the third consecutive game it has not reached double-digit Ks … It is the second-longest streak of the year behind a six-game stretch from April 11 to April 23 … Kasevich (3-for-4, 2 RBI) finished with his 17th multi-hit game of the season and the 19th of his career … It was his 12th multiple-RBI game of the year and career No. 13 … Yovan (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2B) had his team-best 14th multi-RBI game of the season and the 21st of his career … He also recorded his 13th multi-hit game of the season and the 26th of his career … Matthews (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 2B) finished with his 18th multi-hit game of the season, while extending his Oregon record to 63 career multi-hit games … He also had his eighth multiple-RBI game of the season and the 29th of his career … Novitske (2-for-3, R) had his 10th multi-hit game of the season and the 31st of his career … Nico Tellache picked up the win tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Record Watch: Matthews should add the career at-bats record in Oregon's game with Stanford on Friday … The Ducks' senior has 800 career at-bats, just two behind J.J. Altobelli's (2010-13) 802 … He also moved into second on the career runs scored list with two against Gonzaga, moving ahead of Altobelli and within seven of tying Aaron Payne (2011-14) for first all-time … Matthews' 29th career multi-RBI game tied him for fourth with Kyle Garlick (2011-14) on the all-time list … Yovan's 19th career home run tied him with Matthews and Ryon Healy (2011-13) for sixth all-time at Oregon … Yovan added his 21st career multi-RBI game putting him alone in seventh all-time … Smith tied Mitchell Tolman (2015) and Healy (2013) for the single-season doubles record with 20 … Matthews' two doubles gave him 19 for the season, putting him alone in fourth place … Zavala's two runs scores gave him 50 for the season, tying Tyler Baumgartner (2014) and Payne for second all-time … He needs four more to pass Austin Grebeck (2016) for the single-season record … Zavala walked twice to run his season total to 43, six shy of setting a new school record … Yovan's 12th home run moved him into a tie with Tom Dodd (1978) and Dave Roberts (1972) four fourth all-time … He needs to hit three more to set a school record … Kasevich had his 12th multi-RBI game moving him into a tie for seventh in a season with Marcus Piazzisi (2010).
They said it:
Gabe Matthews on breaking the record for career RBIs: "You know whose record it was before, so yeah, I knew. It was [Spencer] Steer's, so I knew I had to beat him out of all people. We had been talking about it for a while and he wanted me to beat it but it just kind of eventually happened. I will call him tonight and let him know."
Gabe Matthews on coming back from a 0-3 deficit: This team isn't ever going to feel bad about going down three runs. I feel like the best thing about this team is that we are like 'Oh, three runs. Let's have a challenge and an opportunity to come back in this game.' We have somebody that competes against us, and that is what it is all about."
Gabe Matthews on the 7-game win streak:
"We are pitching it well, swinging it well and playing good defense, and continuing to get better at those three things."
Coach Wasikowski on the win:
"Gonzaga is a good baseball team. I hope that their pitcher is okay. Nico Zeglin who took that line-drive from Kasevich off of his knee. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, hoping that it is just a bruise or whatever. We hope that he is okay."
Coach Wasikowski on Evan William's return to the field: Evan is a tremendous kid, a hard worker. He had a lot of injuries through the other part of the season, and it has just been frustrating for Evan because of the injury situation. We love him! He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, he is a tremendous kid. We really wanted to honor our players. He had heck of a catch out there to lead off the ninth."
Coach Wasikowski on his team: "I thought the ball club came out today and played a very clean game. Again, I was just excited the way that these guys enjoying to be with each other. Just the camaraderie, the work ethic, they really are a fun group to be with on a daily basis."
On Deck: Oregon hosts No. 17 Stanford at PK Park in a crucial three-game series for both teams starting on Friday at 6:05 p.m. All three games will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Network.