Peterson stumbles, Ducks drop series opener to Stanford 4-3

David Peterson has been — without question — one of the top pitchers in the nation during the 2017 season. However, Peterson wasn’t quite good enough in the Ducks 4-3 loss to Stanford.

“Tip your cap to the Cardinal,” said head coach George Horton. “It’s up to us to pick ourselves up off the deck and get a series at home.”

After a sub-par start from Peterson that put the Ducks behind 4-1, his teammates nearly bailed him out in bottom of the seventh inning. After back-to-back RBI singles from Jake Bennett and Spencer Steer, the stage was set for freshman Matthew Dyer. With two outs and runners on second and third, Dyer smoked a sharp grounder to the right side. In what looked to be a hit that would give Oregon a 5-4 lead, Stanford’s second basemen Duke Kinamon sprawled out and made an acrobatic diving stop and throw to get Dyer out at first and end the threat.

“That was a tremendous play by [Kinamon],” said Horton. “Our best at bats were late. Our guys had the will to win.”

The Ducks (23-11, 6-7 Pac-12) put together another rally in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t come away with the win against Stanford (21-12, 6-7), who held on to take the series opener on a beautiful night at PK Park.

Peterson, who entered the game sporting an 8-1 record, could never find a real groove in the series opener. Peterson had a tough first two innings, putting the Ducks in an early hole which they’d never be able to dig themselves out of.

In the top of the first, Daniel Bakst’s line drive to center field fell just out of the diving reach of the Ducks Jake Bennett, bringing home Matt Winaker to give the Cardinal an early 1-0 lead.

Stanford went right back to work in the second inning, scoring two more times off Peterson thanks to RBI knocks from Brandon Wulff and Maverick Handley to take an early 3-0 lead. The Cardinal snapped an impressive streak from Peterson, who hadn’t allowed more than one earned run in a start since February 24 against UC Irvine. In the top of the sixth, Jack Klein’s RBI single gave Stanford their fourth run of the game — a run that turned out to be pivotal.

For just the second start in his Oregon career, the junior allowed 10 or more hits. Peterson went seven innings and gave up four runs.

“They took advantage of pitches I didn’t execute,” said Peterson. “That was the difference in the game.”

The Ducks’ ace came into the night battling a bit of a flu throughout the week, but let Horton know that he was good to go.

“We were tossing the coin whether to let him pitch or not,” said Horton. “He was probably a little bit out of his weekly routine. He’d be the last guy to say that or use it as an excuse.”

Kris Bubic had a strong performance on the mound for Stanford, neutralizing the Ducks for the most part. He threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and striking out seven.

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Cole Kundich

Cole Kundich