After scoring 14 runs in the first home game of the 2018 season, Oregon baseball won a pitchers duel 2-1 over Florida Atlantic University on Friday at PK Park.
Florida Atlantic starter Jake Miednik, who entered Friday with a 0.68 ERA, picked up his first loss of the season against Matt Mercer, who improved his record to 2-1 this season.
“[Miednik] was really good on that mound,” Oregon outfielder Jakob Goldfarb said. “He was tough to see, he had good offspeed and he was commanding the zone. You just have to go out on Friday nights and battle and get every run you can get. There’s going to be tight games like this a lot.”
Both pitchers had things working early as the teams played three innings of hitless baseball until Goldfarb broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth with his tenth RBI of the season on a single to center field. He scored Spencer Steer, who led off the inning with a base hit and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
“I just shortened up and used the middle of the field and he ended up coming with the fastball,” Goldfarb said. “I just put the bat on it and got it up the middle.”
The Ducks added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh when Ryne Nelson scored from third on a wild pitch.
Mercer gave up just one run on three hits in seven innings of work and his second win of the season. He also struck out six batters and walked three before turning the game over to the bullpen in the eighth inning.
“I’m sure Matty would have liked to finish,” Horton said. “But it was a good night for him. When you’ve got a weapon like [Parker Kelly] and [Kenyon Yovan] you’d second guess yourself if you didn’t go there.”
Initially Kelly struggled when he entered the game in the top of the eighth inning. He entered the game with Cody Wilson on first base for the Owls. Andru Summerall ripped an RBI-double to left center field to score a run for the Owls. He then advanced to third base in the next at-bat on a sacrifice bunt. Kelly hit the next batter he faced, and after he stole second and the Owls were looking to take the lead with two runners in scoring position and only one out.
However, Kelly struck out Joe Montes and was able to get David Miranda to groundout to end the inning and keep the Ducks up a run.
The win improves Oregon’s record to 6-2 this season. Getting the win with both teams utilizing their top starting pitchers was key for the Ducks playing their first home series this season against a quality opponent.
“It definitely builds momentum,” Goldfarb said. “It’s not everything but you definitely want to win on Friday nights. It sets the tone for the weekend and then everything from there kind of takes a little bit of the pressure off.”
The Ducks and Owls play game two of the four-game series at PK Park Saturday at 2 p.m.
Follow Zak Laster: @zlast3445