Oregon falls to LMU, losing streak extends to seven

A theme that has followed Oregon all season came up once again in a mid-week game against Loyola Marymount: a lack of timely hitting.

Oregon (26-22) left seven runners on base, failed to convert on several crucial scoring opportunities and fell to LMU 4-0 on Wednesday night at PK Park to extend the Ducks’ losing streak to seven straight.

“They did what good teams do,” Oregon head coach George Horton said. “They did some quality things, they extended the inning and they did some stuff when it mattered.”

The Ducks, on the other hand, did not deliver when it mattered. Despite their seven hits, they left seven runners on base and failed to drive in even one run. On the season, Oregon ranks 266 nationally in runs scored, so you could say that runs have been at a premium this year.

“Right now for the hitters it seems like there are 200 guys out there with gloves,” Horton said. “Not a good feeling.”

LMU set the tempo early as it scored three of its four runs in the first inning off of Oregon starter James Acuna. The Lions loaded the bases on three straight singles to lead the inning off before a fielder’s choice scored two runs. Another fielder’s choice a batter later scored the third run of the inning, giving the Lions a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Horton thought his players could have responded better.

“Not as competitively as I’d like, quite frankly,” Horton said. “It wasn’t that they thought the game was over or anything like that but we really didn’t puff their lip.”

Acuna’s day was over shortly after. He was one of seven pitchers Oregon used in the game, one of what Horton calls an “all-staff” performance. Acuna lasted only 1.2 innings and allowed four hits, three runs (two earned) and struck out two.

“James Acuna threw strikes,” Horton said. “But he was a little one dimensional and that’s why coach [Dietrich] got him.”

The Ducks had chances to cut into the lead, most notably in the third inning. Morgan McCullough singled and reached third two batters later. But with runners on the corners and only one out, Spencer Steer grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Another opportunity arose an inning later when Tim Susnara doubled with one out. Susnara got all the way to third but Daniel Patzlaff struck out looking to end the threat.

LMU starter Giuseppe Benedetti didn’t exactly help Oregon’s offensive struggles. He allowed five hits and struck out two in his five innings of shutout pitching.

“I thought it was a masterful job by him and the guy who was calling the pitches,” Horton said. “They did a nice job with that.”

With the loss, Oregon has now dropped seven straight. The Ducks will continue searching for answers as they head to USC for a three-game series starting on Friday.

As the slide continues, Oregon’s chances of making the postseason get slimmer and slimmer.

“We need to get one game,” Horton said. “We’re not playing well.”   

Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris

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Gus Morris

Gus Morris

Gus Morris covers Oregon football, basketball and women's golf for the Emerald. Caffeine addict. Bay Area sports. I know words, I have the best words.