Ducks Drop Pac-12 Tournament Opener
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Oregon struggled to rein in Arizona's power bats and fell 8-6 in the inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament game.
The Wildcats (36-21) struck for three home runs in a back-and-forth affair at Scottsdale Stadium. Oregon (35-22) put up crooked numbers in the third and sixth innings behind hits from eight of its nine starters.
How it happened: The Wildcats struck first, getting home runs in the second and third innings to go up 3-0. All three Arizona baserunners scored in the first three frames while UA pitchers retired the first seven Oregon hitters.
Bennett Thompson instigated the UO offense in the bottom of the third, drilling a single up the middle. After a strikeout, the top of the Oregon order drove three straight two-out singles through the infield to cut the deficit to 3-2. Colby Shade and Brennan Milone each drove in a run.
The Ducks briefly moved in front in the sixth inning. After Arizona added a run in the fifth to make it 4-2, Drew Cowley walked and Josh Kasevich doubled to put runners on second and third for Anthony Hall. The junior blasted his 14th home run of the season off the foul pole to put Oregon up 5-4.
Free bases cost the Ducks in the seventh. Arizona loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit-by-pitch before retaking the lead with another HBP and a sacrifice fly.
Oregon threatened in the eighth inning when Jacob Walsh and Thompson singled to put runners on first and second with one out, but back-to-back fly outs to left ended the opportunity.
The Wildcats tacked on two crucial insurance runs in the top of the ninth with their third home run, going up 8-5. Drew Cowley drove in Oregon's sixth run in the bottom of the frame with a one-out double, but he was stranded at second to end the game.
Inside the Box Score: Smith's two-hit day gave him 80 on the season, one away from tying the school record … Josh Kasevich made his 112th straight start at shortstop, the fifth-longest streak of any Duck and second-longest active streak behind Smith … Walsh hit his team-leading 18th and 19th doubles of the season, giving him the fifth-most two-baggers in a season in school history … Hall moved into a four-way tie for second on the single-season home run list with his 14th big fly of the season … The homer was also the 21st of Hall's career, tying him for sixth all-time with Pat McNally (1972-75) and Ron Delplanche (1965-67) … Milone moved into fourth all-time in single-season RBI with 51 and Hall tied Kasevich for fifth with 50.
Up Next: Oregon has another early start on Thursday, taking on the loser of Stanford vs. Arizona State at 9 a.m. in an elimination game.