Aaron Zavala had quite the two games in his first weekend series at PK Park. Zavala, hitting in the sixth spot as a designated hitter, went 3-for-4 in both games, helping lead Oregon (4-2) to 6-2 and 5-4 victories over visiting St. Mary’s (4-3) on a wet and cold Saturday evening.
OREGON 6 — St. Mary’s 2
With Zavala helping ignite the Oregon offense, Ryne Nelson picked up his first win of the season in a dominating effort over the Gaels.
Nelson threw 6.0 innings, giving up one run (zero earned) while striking out nine batters. Using a deft combination of fastballs and offspeed pitches with precision, Nelson kept St. Mary’s off-balanced while he was on the mound.
Robert Ahlstrom threw the seventh and eighth innings for Oregon, giving up no runs for the Ducks. But he ran into trouble in the ninth when he gave up an RBI-double for the Gaels’ second run of the game. Peyton Fuller replaced Ahlstrom and threw a scoreless ninth, striking out two.
Oregon got on the board in the second inning when Zavala started things off with a single. He moved to second when Tanner Smith drew a walk, and then both runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt.
That set the stage for Kyle Froemke, who hit a two-run single to score Zavala and Smith.
Zavala added to the lead in the third inning when his two-out single scored Gabe Matthews, who reached base with a single earlier in the frame.
After both team’s exchanged runs in the fifth inning, the Ducks made it 5-1 with Jonny DeLuca knocked in Cameron Campbell with a sacrifice fly. Campbell later added Oregon’s final run with a solo blast in the eighth inning.
OREGON 5 — St. Mary’s 4
The Ducks had to come from behind in the nightcap, and behind a big fifth inning were able to pick up the 5-4 victory.
St. Mary’s wasted no time in jumping all over Oregon in this one, scoring the three runs in the first four innings. A double by JC Santini knocked in the first run in the second inning Conor Thane came through with a two-run single in the fourth.
The Ducks responded in the bottom half of the inning when Zavala drove in Steer to make the score 3-1.
Oregon took the lead for good in the fifth when Gabe Matthews hammered a 3-run blast over the right field fence for the one-run lead — the ball was almost robbed by St. Mary’s right fielder Matt Green, but it popped out of his glove as he made contact with the fence.
The Ducks continued to pressure the Gaels following the homerun when Jakob Goldfarb reached base after being hit by a pitch. Back-to-back singles loaded the bases before Smith’s RBI groundout pushed Goldfarb across home plate.
Oregon’s pitching staff took over from there as they ended the sixth and seventh innings on strikeouts with the bases loaded before another strikeout ended the eighth.
Starter Cullen Kafka, despite giving up the early runs, stuck with it and got the much-needed strikeout in the sixth, his final batter of the game. He turned things over to Keaton Chase, who got out of his own bases-loaded jam with a strikeout. Brett Walker then took over and pitched the final two innings for his first save of the season.
Sam Novitske, DeLuca and Zavala all had multi-hit games for Oregon while seven of its nine starters recorded a hit in the game