Oregon’s home-opener on Tuesday was one for the record books.
The Ducks scored ten runs in the second inning, tied for the most ever in an inning in program history, to bury Seattle 14-0 on Tuesday night in their first game of the year at PK Park. Oregon has now won three straight.
The last time Oregon scored ten runs in an inning was last year in an 11-1 win over Utah.
“It’s a perfect storm,” Oregon head coach George Horton said. “Walks, soft hits, couple rollers through the four-hole, some good hitting. You kind of put it all together.”
Oregon (5-2) got contributions from throughout its lineup. Spencer Steer (3-for-5, two runs) led the way with three RBIs while Kyle Kasser (2-for-3, two runs), Evan Williams (1-for-2, one run) and Jakob Goldfarb (1-for-5, one run) each drove in two runs. Ryne Nelson and Jonny DeLuca also drove in a run each.
“We had a lot of good at-bats early, a lot of at-bats with runners in scoring position and we executed our plan,” Steer said.
Seattle (5-4) starter Tyler Oldenberg (1-1) took the loss. He retired three Oregon batters and surrendered nine runs (six earns) on seven hits before being pulled in the second. His replacement, Alden Huschle, fared worse, walking three and giving up four runs while only getting one out.
“Everything we hit kind of found holes and snowballed on them a little bit with their relief pitchers who weren’t throwing strikes and so forth,” Horton said.
The Redhawks committed two errors, and only ten of the 14 runs they allowed were earned.
Oldenberg and Huschle were two of six pitchers Seattle used in the game but the duo allowed all but one Oregon run.
Oregon freshman Cullen Kafka (1-0) got the start, the first of his collegiate career, and allowed two hits and struck out three in three innings of work. Horton and Oregon pitching coach Jason Dietrich had planned to throw an array of pitchers on Tuesday, and the large lead Oregon built early allowed them to use five pitchers out of the bullpen.
Combined, the Ducks’ bullpen struck out nine, walked none and surrendered only four hits in six innings of work to preserve Oregon’s first shutout of the season.
“I was really impressed with our defensive effort, hard to do that in that kind of a kind of a game, getting a shutout, and a staff shutout,” Horton said. “Every guy that coach Dietrich brought in seemed to be very much in character.”
After building a 3-0 lead in the first, the Ducks almost went through the lineup twice in the decisive second inning. They sent 14 batters to the plate to face three different Seattle pitchers. When the dust settled, Oregon led 13-0.
The Ducks added another run in the seventh on a fielder’s choice and went on for the 14-0 victory.
Horton was somewhat concerned with the fact that the Ducks only recorded one hit after the second inning.
“I thought our pitch selection wasn’t quite as finely tuned,” Horton said. “Not trying to make excuses, I would’ve liked to see more hits in the middle of the game.”
The Ducks will look to improve over the weekend when they welcome Florida Atlantic (6-1) to Eugene for three-game weekend series starting on Friday.
Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris