A barrage of offense in the third inning opened up the second game between Oregon and UCLA. The top ranked Bruins came alive at the top of the third, scoring six runs. But the Ducks did not go away quietly as they scored the final five runs of the game as the Ducks attempted a gritty comeback.
However, it was not enough as Oregon (27-29, 10-19 Pac-12) lost to No.1 UCLA (47-8 24-5 Pac-12) in Eugene, Oregon, 6-5. The loss results in Oregon loosing its final series of the season and dashing any hope of making the postseason.
After two uneventful innings, the Bruins showed their offensive talent. The inning started with a single by Chase Strumpf. The Bruins kept up their assault with a Ryan Kreidler bunt. An RBI by Michael Toglia put UCLA on the scoreboard. The defining play of the third inning was a three RBI double by Noah Cardenas.
It looked like the Ducks chances of a victory were bleak. Starting pitcher Brett Walker was replaced Cole Stringer. Although Stringer conceded a run, the bleeding stopped for the Ducks. Oregon was now staring at a six run deficit against the nations best
The Ducks clawed their way back in the bottom of the third inning. Singles by Jakob Goldfarb, Cameron Campbell and Kyle Froemke led to a run. A groundout hit to first base by Tanner Smith led to another run. After the disastrous start to the third the Ducks were only down four runs after the end of three innings.
Oregon’s offense kept up the momentum in the fourth inning. Singles by Jonny DeLuca and Evan Williams opened the inning. Goldfarb hit a double to left center, bringing in DeLuca. Finally an RBI by Campbell cut the lead to 6-4. Goldfarb and Campbell’s strong games kept Oregon alive.
This could not have been possible without Stringer’s superb pitching. Stringer did not concede a run in the final six innings of the game. He threw five strikeouts and only gave up two hits and one walk. Stringer stabilized a game that was nearly a blowout.
“Cole was spectacular, he was keeping us in the game,” head coach George Horton said.
The Ducks blew a golden opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the bases loaded, UCLA walked Goldfarb, which led to a run. The bases still loaded Oregon was down by only one run. The next two at bats sealed the win for UCLA with back-to-back strikeouts from Froemke and Campbell. UCLA recorded 17 strikeouts in its win. Jack Ralston, the Bruins starting pitcher, record 10 strikeouts.
The game fittingly ended with a strikeout by Ducks third baseman Spencer Steer. He had a cold night hitting the ball with no hits in three at bats. The top of the order for the Ducks were unable to rally in the final frame of the game.
“It hurts. We have been playing good baseball today and yesterday,” Stringer said.
The Ducks series against UCLA ,and the season, will conclude on Saturday at 4 p.m.