Cole Stringer hasn’t been the same pitcher since February 2.
Stringer, who after three starts spent last year in the dugout with an undisclosed season-ending injury, in his first two starts this season pitched 12.1 innings combined only giving up one run on five hits. The lefty spent 21 days on the disabled list following a rough 4.1 inning where he gave up five runs on eight hits.
In his second start back from injury, Stringer’s struggles continued. Stringer gave up five runs in the first inning against the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal. The early onslaught provided the early knockout blow as Oregon (22-15, 7-7 Pac-12) dropped the second game and the series against the Cardinal (26-6, 12-2 Pac-12), 20-5.
“They whipped us every which way, shape and form,” head coach George Horton said. “We couldn’t sustain anything.”
Stringer located the strike zone early as he got ahead 0-2 against Kyler Sowers. Sowers, on the 1-2 pitch, hit a single through the right side of the defense. Maverick Handley followed with a single of his own to center field and Stringer walked the next batter to load the bases with no outs. Starting pitcher Will Matthiessen, who bats clean up and finished the day 3-5 with three RBIs, hit a two-RBI double down the left field line to put a crooked number on the board.
Andrew Daschbach followed with a three-run home run that was hit just fair to right field. Stringer was finally able to settle and get three consecutive outs to end the first inning.
“I dont know if he’s been rusty because he’s been on the shelf,” Horton said. “They made him pay for some bad pitches.”
Stringer, composed himself following a disastrous first, stayed in the game and only gave up one more run until the fifth inning. He, after going four innings and giving up eight runs on eight hits, was pulled after the Cardinal poured on four more runs in the fifth. Three of the runs were credited to Stringer.
The downpour of offense continued in the sixth inning as the Cardinal put up seven runs. Stanford got 50 batters to the plate along with 24 hits.
"They just kept extending it," Horton said. "Not just ones but more crooked numbers."
Oregon showed fight in the bottom of the eighth when Taylor Adams hit a grand slam to right center, but the Ducks still trailed by 13-runs.
Oregon’s offense was contained by dominant pitching led by Matthiessen, who went five innings allowing one run on two hits. The one run was a Gabe Matthews home run that was sent to the awning out in right field.
The Ducks will try and bounce back from the worst loss of the Horton era for the final game of the series tomorrow at 12 p.m.
“My guys are competitive and they aren’t going to roll over,” Horton said. “It’s going to be a big one tomorrow. We just have to play better.”