Poor defense causes Ducks to fall to UC Davis, end five-game winning streak
In the top of the fourth inning the Ducks were down 6-1 to the Aggies. Oregon’s offense wasn’t getting past first base, and the team’s only run came from a Jakob Goldfarb homer in the bottom of the second.
An inning and a half later, the Ducks regained hope as they tied the game 6-6 with a sacrifice fly-out to right field from Gabe Matthews.
Yet, the momentum didn’t hold. Instead, it fell.
The Ducks had a five-game winning streak entering the series finale against the UC Davis Aggies, but the Ducks (11-4) fell 9-7 Sunday afternoon at PK Park.
“We had no errors, but we set the table for them to get batters and not execute pitches,” Oregon head coach George Horton said. “[We] did the wrong things at the wrong times … I just don’t think we played as well as we should have today.”
When the Aggies (4-8) scored three runs for a four-run lead in the top of the fourth, Oregon began a series of three pitching changes. After pitching for three innings, allowing six runs on seven hits, starter Cullen Kafka was relieved by freshman Peyton Fuller.
Fuller, who ultimately received the game’s loss, made his third appearance this season for the Ducks. In his 1.1 innings pitched he allowed two runs off of two hits and one walk.
Parker Kelly was next on the mound and struck out six batters over three scoreless innings, until Oregon pulled up their closer, Kenyon Yovan, in the top of the ninth.
“It’s a though loss,” Goldfarb said. “We wanted to come out and get the sweep today, but from an offensive perspective, putting up seven runs is never really a bad thing. That being said, I just think that our pitches need to just fill out the zone better earlier in the count.”
The Aggies also made three pitching changes; however, they took advantage of Oregon’s week defense and brought up a surge of pat power to control the bases.
“We helped them,” Horton said. “We set the table in the second inning … We didn’t have as good as discipline as I thought we needed out there pitching.”
Both teams had 11 hits, yet Oregon was unable to bring in enough runs to catch up to the Aggies after tying them in the fifth inning. The Duck’s final run came in the bottom of the eighth, from a right field hit from Taylor Travess that brought home Ray Soderman.
In the final inning, and the final chance for an Oregon’s redemption, the Aggies scored two, while the Ducks’ left the bases loaded with a final out from Soderman.
“The good news is we stayed in there and hung in there,” Horton said. “We had a chance to win or tie late in the game, and I think that’s because of our guys’ toughness and confidence. You can’t give that kind of stuff away, we’re about ready to start conference and good teams make you pay for that. Today U.C. Davis was a better team.”
Oregon will play its final game before starting conference play this Tuesday, March 13, against Gonzaga at 6 p.m. at PK Park.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.