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Zavala Sets Runs Record in Defeat

May 22, 2021

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon came from behind once but was unable to do so a second time Saturday, when the No. 13 Ducks fell 6-5 to No. 17 Stanford before a limited sellout crowd of 641 fans in PK Park.

The two teams came into the weekend both in the hunt for the Pac-12 championship, and they will play a rubber match Sunday. The loss ended Oregon's winning streak at eight games.

"I thought we got out-pitched, I thought we got out-hit, and I thought we got out-played on defense," UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. "… They outplayed us in all three aspects of the game, so they deserved to win."

UO sophomore Aaron Zavala made history in defeat, scoring three times to set a school single-season record with 54 runs scored. The Keizer native broke the record of 53 set by Austin Grebeck in 2016.

"The season he's had has been remarkable; he's a finalist for national player of the year," Wasikowski said. "He did a good job today at the plate; it just takes more than one man."

How It Happened: UO starter Cullen Kafka pitched a 1-2-3 top of the first, and the Ducks staked him to a lead in the bottom of the inning. Zavala worked a two-out walk, Gabe Matthews singled him to second and Josh Kasevich followed with another single to plate the game's first run.

A one-out error followed by an infield single put runners on the corners for the Cardinal in the third. A strikeout put Kafka in position to escape the jam, but a walk loaded the bases and a wild pitch brought in the game-tying run. Another walk loaded the bases again, and a two-run single made it 3-1.

Oregon (35-12, 18-8 Pac-12) had a response in the bottom of the third. Tanner Smith went the other way into left field for a leadoff single, and Kenyon Yovan followed with a homer into Stanford's bullpen in the left-field corner to tie the game. Zavala was then hit by a pitch, took second on a fielder's choice and went to third on a wild pitch, and Kasevich drove in his second run of the day with a sacrifice fly to put the Ducks up 4-3.

Stanford led off the fourth with a home run to tie the game again. A one-out walk in the fifth led to a UO pitching change, and the first pitch from reliever Nico Tellache was an RBI double that made it 5-4. The Cardinal added another solo homer in the sixth, and though the Ducks got the leadoff runner Kasevich in scoring position in the bottom of the inning, they couldn't push the run across.

The Ducks did add on in the eighth. Zavala led off with a single, and took second on a one-out fielder's choice. Anthony Hall came through with two outs, singling up the middle to plate Zavala for the third time in the game. Pinch-hitter Tristan Hanoian worked a one-out walk in the ninth which allowed Yovan to get another at-bat, but his flyball to center was caught to end the game.

At The Plate: Zavala led the Pac-12 in on-base percentage entering the day at .529 before reaching three times in four appearances. He scored all three times, including after the first-inning walk, his 44th of the year to tie for second on the UO single-season list with Mitchell Tolman from 2015. Guy Krause set the record of 48 in 1972.

Yovan's home run was his 13th of the year, one shy of joining three players atop the UO single-season record list at 14. His 47 RBIs are tied for fourth on the UO single-season list, and his 15th multiple-RBI game of the season is tied for third in a single season at Oregon. Kasevich was 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, giving him 41 RBIs this spring, one shy of Oregon's single-season top 10.

On The Mound: Kafka (5-3) went 4.1 innings, allowing five runs — two earned — on five hits with five walks, and three strikeouts. Isaac Ayon went the final four innings for the Ducks to match his longest outing of the year, allowing a home run to the first hitter he faced before settling in.

Up Next: The series concludes with Oregon sending RHP Brett Walker (6-2, 3.60) to the mound Sunday (noon, Pac-12 Network).