The Ducks came into this weekend looking to make a statement in the Pac-12 with an opening series against Washington (11-5, 2-1 Pac-12).
It didn’t go as planned, being outscored 28-6 in the first two games as the pitching and offense were in complete disarray. But Oregon (11-7, 1-2 Pac-12) rebounded with an extra-inning 1-0 victory on Sunday to salvage the series and pick up its first conference win of the season.
Game 1: OREGON 3 — Washington 9
The Ducks got off to a good start, showing the resiliency they’ve become known for by battling back to take a 3-2 lead through four innings, but it was all Washington from there as the Huskies scored seven unanswered the runs the rest of the way for the victory.
Starting pitcher Cullen Kafka was tagged for two early runs in the second inning when back-to-back singles put the Ducks in an early hole.
However, Oregon responded in the bottom of the inning when Aaron Zavala’s fielder’s choice plated Gabe Matthews, who reached base on a double to start the frame.
The Ducks took the lead in the fourth with their own back-to-back RBI singles by Jakob Goldfarb and Zavala. Spencer Steer started the rally with a double, and later came around to score on Goldfarb’s single while Zavala scored Matthews again, who reached on an intentional walk.
The lead was short lived as the Huskies rallied with five runs in top of the fifth, before adding two more in the top of the sixth to complete the scoring.
Kafka got the loss, throwing 4.2 innings and giving up seven runs (four earned) with four strikeouts and 11 hits.
A positive was the production out of Tyler Frazier and Peyton Fuller, who combined to throw four scoreless innings, giving up just four hits with two strikeouts.
Game 2: OREGON 3 — Washington 19
The Ducks had a brief glimmer of hope, but it ended with Washington scoring 14 unanswered runs, including 10 in the final two frames, en route to worst loss of the season.
The Huskies jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the third inning off starter Robert Ahlstrom, but Oregon came back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning.
A strange turn of events unfolded in the bottom when Jonny DeLuca’s single ended up in a run down for Oregon’s Tanner Smith and Sam Novitske. Both players ended up safe with Smith crossing home plate with Taylor Adams while Novitske was safe at third base. Steer then scored Novitske on a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to two.
That was as close as the Ducks would get, because Washington would score three runs in fifth and one in the sixth before the explosion over the final two innings.
Novitske was a bright spot offensively, finishing the day 3-for-4 while Adams went 2-for-3.
Robert Ahlstrom got the loss, giving up seven runs (six earned) in 4.0 innings of work. He struck out five, gave up five hits and walked three in the outing.
Game 3: OREGON 1 — Washington 0 (10 innings)
Oregon avoided being swept when DeLuca came up clutch in the 10th inning, knocking a two-out, full count RBI single to score Adams.
Adams started the rally with a one-out single before advancing to third on Smith’s single. A strikeout prior to Smith’s at-bat made it two outs and set up Novitske to be walked to load the bases for DeLuca’s heroics.
Brett Walker was great on the mound to start the game for Oregon, throwing 3.1 innings and giving up just five hits with three strikeouts. He was then replaced by Ryne Nelson, who continued the dominance for the Ducks — throwing 5.2 innings and striking out eight while giving up three hits.
Nico Tellache threw a scoreless 10th inning for the Ducks to get the win.
Oregon returns to action Friday for a three-game home series with No. 15 Arizona State (19-0), the only remaining undefeated team left in the top-25. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.