For the second night in a row, Oregon baseball fell short by one run to No. 1-ranked Oregon State at PK Park. This time a 1-0 pitching duel on Saturday night, completing the three-game sweep by the Beavers. It was the first time the Ducks had been shut out all season.
“I know my guys had the will to win,” head coach George Horton said. “With a little bit of fortune and good play, we could have won the last two games. But [Oregon State] wouldn’t let us.”
Oregon State’s Jake Thompson continued his undefeated season, improving his record to 11-0. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out five batters in 6.2 innings of work. Brandon Eisert took the ball the rest of the way and held the Ducks hitless while striking out one and walking one.
“Their pitching and defense is spectacular,” Horton said. “It’s actually a thing of beauty to watch. It makes it awfully tough to score runs unless you get some freebies, or errors, but they don’t give you much of that either.”
To counter, Oregon starter Matt Mercer put together six quality innings, despite picking up the loss. He struck out five and walked four, but just gave up the one run on eight hits. Despite the hits and walks allowed, Mercer played a big role in keeping the Beavers in check. They stranded 14 runners on base and were just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
The lone run of the game came in the fourth inning when Cadyn Grenier hit an RBI-single.
Cooper Stiles struck out two batters during a perfect inning of relief. Brac Warren picked up another two outs before the Ducks looked to closer Kenyon Yovan to keep the game to just the one run deficit.
Offensively for the Ducks, Kyle Kasser saw his hitting streak extend to seven games with a 1-for-3 night. With only three hits and three walks to take advantage of, the Ducks had much fewer chances with men on base. Of those, four runners were left stranded on base.
“It’s unacceptable for our standards and they got the two out hit and we didn’t,” center fielder Jake Bennett said. “That’s just unfortunate and it was the difference in the game.”
The loss was Oregon’s seventh in a row, further complicating a shot at the NCAA Tournament.
“I think that we’re getting punished a little bit right now in the game of baseball,” Bennett said. “But we’re gonna keep fighting and you never know. In these last two weeks, it’s a crazy game.”
Next up for the Ducks is a one-game matchup against Loyola Marymount at 6 p.m. Wednesday night at PK Park. The team will then head to Los Angeles to resume Pac-12 play in a three-game series against USC, beginning on Friday.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter @zlast3445