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Ducks outfielder/third base Aaron Zavala (13) slides into second base. Oregon Ducks baseball takes on UCLA Bruins at PK Park in Eugene, Ore., on April 25, 2021. (Kevin Wang/Daily Emerald)

Oregon baseball lost to the Washington State Cougars on Saturday by a score of 11-1 at Bailey-Brayton field in Pullman. Five homers for the Cougars helped propel them to victory. 

Pitching was a problem for the Ducks all night as they allowed 11 runs on 14 hits. 

The problems started early for the Ducks, as right-handed starting pitcher Cullen Kafka allowed a solo homer to Washington State’s Kodie Kolden in the bottom of the first. 

The Ducks tried to get back on track in the top of the second. Oregon’s Aaron Zavala recorded a single and Gabe Matthews hit his 16th double of the year, but they weren’t able to score as a double play and a pop out closed the inning. 

The Cougars enjoyed a plethora of hits in the bottom of the second, scoring five total runs. 

After two singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Cougars, Kyle Manzardo hit a grand slam to spike the Cougar lead to 5-0. 

Kafka’s struggles continued as Washington State’s Tristan Peterson hit a homer to push the lead to 6-0. At this point in the game Kafka had allowed six runs on six hits, including three home runs. 

This theme continued into the bottom of the fourth as the Cougars’ Kyle Russellnotched his first career homer and the fourth of the game for their team to extend the lead. 

As Washington State’s offense was clicking, so was the pitching of right-handed Zane Mills, recording three perfect innings, including in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, Kafka threw his last inning, allowing two walks and a hit.

Right-handed pitcher RJ Gordon came in for the Ducks to pitch the bottom of the sixth. The Cougars immediately went on another run, recording four more in the inning. 

Jake Meyer of the Cougars hit his fourth homer of the year on one of Gordon’s first pitches, putting the Cougars up eight. Washington State’s Kolden hit a single followed by a Manzardo triple that spiked the lead to nine. 

Gordon then walked Tristan Peterson and allowed a Montez single, sending Manzardo home. This was followed by a Jack Smith double, resulting in a Peterson score and another pitching change for Oregon.

Right-hander Scott Ellis came in to close out the messy sixth inning for the Ducks. 

In the top of the eighth inning, Gabe Matthews got Oregon on the board with a bases-loaded walk. 

Left-hander Rio Britton came in to pitch the last inning for the Ducks, allowing one single and a walk in the process. 

Kyle Manzardo led the way for the Cougars, going 3-for-5 with three runs and five RBIs. His three hits included a double, a triple and a grand slam. 

The Ducks, ranked No. 9 in the nation by D1 baseball, drop to 27-10 on the season. They’ll play the rubber game of their three-game series against Washington State Sunday at 12:05 p.m.

Sports Reporter

Dylan Conway is a sports writer from Portland, Oregon. Along with his writing, he enjoys playing hockey, golf and chess.