Ducks split doubleheader with Ball State
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon scored seven unanswered runs to rally from a one-run deficit in game two of a doubleheader for a 10-4 win to secure a split of the two games at PK Park on Saturday. Ball State edged Oregon 3-2 in the opener.
Tanner Smith scored a pair of runs in the two games to tie Oregon's career record for runs scored with 135. Smith homered in the first game, while Brennan Milone and Anthony Hall went yard in game two to run Oregon's season total to 50 homers, the second most in a season in school history and two more than the 1974 team hit.
Oregon moved to 20-11 on the season, while Ball State is 18-11.
Game 1: Ball State 3, Oregon 2
Smith homered on the first pitch he saw to leadoff the game and Isaac Ayon was dominant over 6.1 innings, but the Cardinals scored a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth to rally to beat the Ducks.
How It Happened: It looked like Smith's homer, his eighth of the season, would be all the runs the Ducks would need with Ayon on the mound. Oregon's starter held Ball State scoreless through six innings before allowing a pair of base hits in the seventh forcing the Ducks to the bullpen.
Closer Kolby Somers came in to relieve Ayon and got an out before Ball State's Trenton Quartermaine singled to drive in one of Ayon's runners to tie the game.
Oregon took the lead back in the bottom of the seventh. Anthony Hall led off the inning with his third hit of the game, moved to second on a Sam Novitske sacrifice bunt and to third after walks to Gavin Grant and Smith. He then scored on a wild pitch for a 2-1 lead.
BSU answered with a pair of runs off Somers in the top of the eighth. Matthew Rivera led off the inning with a base hit and moved to third on a Sam Novitske error before scoring on a wild pitch to tie the game.
Zach Cole gave the Cardinals the lead for good with a two-our home run.
Game 2: Oregon 10, Ball State 4
Milone and Hall hit homers to help the Ducks overcome a 4-3 fifth-inning deficit and take a series lead with a win in the nightcap.
How It Happened: Ball State jumped on Oregon starter Jace Stoffal, who was making his first appearance as a Duck, with three runs in the first.
Oregon rallied to tie the game with three runs in the top of the second. Josh Kasevich sparked the rally with a leadoff double before Novitske walked to put a pair of runners on.
Jack Scanlon lifted a ball over the head of BSU third baseman Ryan Peltier for a run-scoring double scoring Kasevich and moving Novitske to third.
Smith knotted the game with two outs, singling to center to score both Novitske and Scanlon.
BSU took the lead back in the top of the fifth with a run, but it was short lived thanks to Milone. Smith set the table for the Ducks designated hitter with a one-out base hit. After another out, Milone unloaded on a ball driving it over the wall in right-center field wall for a two-run homer and a 5-4 Oregon lead.
The Ducks tacked on two more runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and two more in the eighth. Oregon got its two runs in the sixth without the benefit of a hit.
Hall walked, moved to second on a Novitske hit-by-pitch and to third on a Scanlon fly out to center field. Hall scored on a Gavin Grant ground out to push the lead to two. Novitske came around to score on a Milone bases loaded walk for a 7-4 lead.
Hall added some insurance in the seventh blasting his seventh home run of the season off the light-pole banner in right-center field.
Oregon added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Grant scored on a wild pitch to give Oregon a five-run lead. Colby Shade then singled, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by the catcher before scoring on a Milone sacrifice fly.
Inside The Box Score: Smith had multiple hits in both games going 4-for-6 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored … Hall finished with four hits, going 3-for-4 in game one before hitting the home run in game two … He has homered in four of Oregon last five games … Ayon had his fourth quality start of the season, allowing just one run on seven hits with seven Ks and no walks in 6.1 innings … Mercado got the win in game two, moving to 4-0 on the season … His 4.0 innings pitched was a career-high for the righty.
On Deck: The Ducks will look to clinch the series with a win on Sunday. First pitch is at 12:05 p.m.