Ducks split twin bill
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon used a strong pitching performance from Isaac Ayon and some timely Drew Cowley hitting to win game one of a doubleheader 4-3, before dropping the nightcap to UC Santa Barbara 5-4 on Saturday at PK Park.
Game 1: Oregon 4, UC Santa Barbara 3
Ayon allowed just one earned run while tossing a seven-inning complete game to pick up the win, while Cowley homered and drove in Oregon's first three runs in the Ducks win.
How it happened: Cowley, who finished a triple short of hitting for the cycle, put the Ducks on top in the first inning blasting a two-run home run over the center-field wall to put the Ducks up by a pair early.
UCSB (6-4) tied the game in the fourth with some help from the Ducks. Cowley committed a throwing error extending an inning that saw Brock Mortenson hit a two-run home run to push across two unearned runs.
The Ducks (7-4) responded with a single runs in both the fifth and sixth inning. Cowley broke the tie with a RBI single scoring Tanner Smith to give Oregon a 3-2 lead. Anthony Hall drove in Jacob Walsh, who led off the sixth with a double, with a two-out single up the middle for a two-run lead.
The Ducks needed the insurance run because UCSB scored on a solo home run in the top of the seventh, on a play that bounced off right fielder Bryce Boettcher's glove and ricocheted over the right-field wall.
Despite the two home runs, Ayon was in control the entire game. He retired the first nine batters he faced, three on strikeouts, before the first runner reached on Cowley's fourth-inning error.
Ayon (2-0) matched a career high fanning seven Gauchos, while pitching a career-best seven innings.
Game 2: UC Santa Barbara 5, Oregon 4
The Gauchos scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead and then held off the Ducks to earn a doubleheader split.
How it happened: Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Oregon catcher Josiah Cromwick blasted a one-out grand slam over the right-center field wall to put Oregon in front by three.
The Ducks' bats went quite after the Cromwick homer and UCSB cut the lead to just one on Mortenson's second homer of the day, a two-run shot in the third.
It remained a 4-3 game until the sixth inning when the Gauchos took advantage of a Duck miscue to take the lead.
After a leadoff strikeout, Gaucho leadoff hitter Jordan Sprinkle singled and moved to second on a Zander Darby walk. Both runners would come around to score on a Nick Vogt single to center field that Colby Shade misplayed allowing UCSB to take a one-run lead.
The Ducks put runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn't push the tying run across the plate.
Inside the box scores: Cromwick's grand slam was his second of the season … He is tied for the team lead with three homers and has a team-high 15 RBI despite starting just five of Oregon's 11 games … Cowley's home run was his third of the season as well, and he is tied with Cromwick and Brennan Milone for the team high … Cowley's three RBI in game one gave him four multiple-RBI games this season, tying him for the team high with Josh Kasevich on Cromwick … His three-hit game was his fifth of the season, one behind the team leaders … Three Gauchos were hit-by-pitches in the first inning, tying an Oregon record for most HBP in an inning … The game-two loss snapped Oregon's seven-game winning streak … Rio Britton tossed a career-high 2.2 innings of relief and retired all eight batters he faced including four on strikeouts … The Britton appearance also marked the first time he has appeared in games on consecutive days during his career … Friday he retired all three batters he faced as well.
Up Next: The Ducks and Gauchos wrap up their four-game series with a 12:05 p.m. first pitch on Sunday. An Oregon win will clinch the series.