Ayon's Quality Start Squandered
EUGENE, Ore. — No. 10 Oregon reversed the script from the first two games of its series with Washington State on Sunday, exploding to an early lead but losing the late innings to drop the rubber match in the series at PK Park, 8-7 in 10 innings.
The Ducks (26-13, 11-7 Pac-12) led 6-0 after two innings and answered three runs by WSU in the top of the sixth with an insurance run in the bottom of the inning to lead 7-3. But the Cougars scored twice in the eighth and twice more in the ninth to extend the game, then added a run in the 10th to take their first and only lead of the game.
"I was disappointed in what I saw after we got an early lead," UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. "Of course you want to continue to score and just string good at-bats together. It's usually how we do it. And we didn't do that today — and then we weren't able to hold the lead. So kind of a double-edged sword right there. Not a not a very fun day."
How It Happened: Jacob Walsh singled in Drew Cowley in the first to give Oregon an early 1-0 lead, before the Ducks broke it open in the second. With the bases loaded and one out, Tanner Smith was hit by a pitch to plate another run, Cowley cleared the bases with a triple to center and Brennan Milone grounded out to drive in Cowley.
That gave starter Isaac Ayon a 6-0 lead, and that looked like more than enough for five innings. He pitched around two hits in the first, then only allowed one more baserunner until the sixth.
With two on and two out in the sixth, WSU got on the board with an RBI single and then scored twice more on a two-run double. Gavin Grant walked to lead off the bottom of the inning, Smith singled him to third and Milone brought Grant home with another single to make it 7-3.
But Oregon's bats went quiet from there, and WSU came alive. Rio Britton took the mound for his second inning of work in the eighth and allowed a double following by a two-run homer before getting out of the inning. The Cougars scored twice more off UO closer Kolby Somers in the ninth.
Josh Kasevich singled in the bottom of the ninth, Oregon's only baserunner in the final four innings. WSU manufactured a run in the 10th off two UO relievers, needing only one hit to do to.
On the Mound: Ayon put together a quality start with six innings of work in which he allowed three runs off seven hits, with five strikeouts and no walks.
"It's disappointing we couldn't get him a win," Wasikowski said. "Yeah, Isaac pitched very well. There's been some complaints about, well, we haven't gotten quality starting but good relief work. And now today was the first time it's been pretty much flipped, which is something new for us."
At the Plate: Milone had two hits to take over the team lead in batting average at .335. Cowley's three-run triple gave him 18 RBIs this season, in 18 games. Smith's run scored on the triple was his team-high 43rd of the season.
Up Next: The Ducks host Oregon State for a nonconference game at PK Park on Tuesday at 6 p.m.