Despite a late comeback attempt, the Oregon Ducks dropped the second game of the series against the Arizona Wildcats 5-4 on Friday night in Tucson, Arizona.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, when they benefited from an error on second baseman Morgan McCullough. In the fifth inning, the Wildcats took advantage of a second Oregon error, this time by catcher Tim Susnara to take a three-run lead. They added two more runs on a two-RBI single by Nicholas Quintana to give the team a commanding five-run advantage.
Oregon starter Matt Mercer gave up five hits, struck out one batter, walked five and surrendered three earned runs in his second loss of the season.
Offensively, the Ducks (23-9, 6-5) were held scoreless for the first six innings by Wildcats starting pitcher JC Cloney, who improved his season record to 7-0. The Ducks finally broke through in the seventh inning, putting up three runs and cutting the Wildcats lead to 5-3.
The lead was trimmed to one on a Jake Bennett RBI double to center field that scored Kyle Kasser in the ninth inning. The next batter, Spencer Steer, was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. Back-to-back outs by Gabe Matthews and AJ Balta cut the comeback attempt short for the Ducks.
The final game of the series takes place Saturday at 12 p.m. in Tucson, Arizona.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter: @zlast3445