Ducks bullpen spoils Stringers’ start in 6-5 loss to WSU
With the NCAA Tournament just around the corner, the Ducks’ postseason fate is anything but certain. Each game remaining in the season is important, which makes Oregon’s 6-5 loss in the series finale against Washington State especially sting.
In one of the most crushing losses, the Ducks had a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Cole Stringer got the start on the mound and was brilliant, silencing the Cougars into the sixth inning.
However, the Ducks’ bullpen could not hold onto the lead. After getting on the board with one run in the seventh, Washington State scored three times in the eighth and walked off in the ninth on a two-run RBI double from Justin Harrer.
The Ducks opened up the scoring in the top of third inning when Jake Bennett brought home Daniel Platzaff with an RBI ground out. That was before Spencer Steer drove in two more runs with a single to left field. They Ducks scored in each the fourth and sixth innings for a 5-0 lead.
Five runs was more than enough for Stringer, who turned in one of his more impressive starts of the season. Stringer finished with 5.1 shutout innings, allowing five hits and striking out four. After allowing just one hit through the first four innings, he escaped a bases-loaded jam unharmed in the fifth inning when Cal Waterman hit into an inning ending double play.
Oregon’s bullpen imploded over the final three innings of the game. After helping Stringer get out of a jam in the sixth inning, Connor Zwetsch allowed the Cougars’ first run of the game in the seventh inning. Brac Warren was able to get two outs, before head coach George Horton called upon Kenyon Yovan for an extended save.
Yovan entered the game with a 0.74 ERA, allowing just two earned runs throughout the season in 24.1 innings pitched. The freshman, however, didn’t have it going on Sunday, allowing 5 runs over 1.2 innings to give Washington State the win.
The win gives WSU a series win after the teams split Saturday’s doubleheader. The Ducks return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Portland for a nonconference game before welcoming No. 1-ranked Oregon State for a three-game series starting Thursday.
Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @ckundich
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