The Ducks' hopes for a rebuttal after Friday night’s 4-1 loss to their in-state rivals, the No. 12 Oregon State Beavers, were dashed on Saturday.
Oregon lost Saturday's game and the series to the Beavers, the defending national champions, with a final score of 8-5. A dominant three run opening inning by the Beavers was too much for Oregon to overcome and forced the Ducks to even their season record at 24-24 and drop to 8-15 in Pac-12 play. The Beavers' win improves them to 33-14-1 overall and 19-4 in the conference.
Like Friday's game, the Ducks pitched a poor first inning putting the team in another early hole. The Beavers got ahead 3-1 by the end of the inning thanks to an RBI from Ryan Ober and an RBI double from Tyler Malone. Malone ended the night with three RBIs.
The Ducks were able to respond with a solo home run by Tanner Smith in the bottom of the first. The freshman outfielder had a solid outing overall, with three hits, two runs and an RBI. His offense bolstered the team as the Duck’s defense struggled to get stops.
Oregon’s pitching woes were on full display Saturday.
The Ducks cycled through four pitchers throughout the game. Sophomore Cullen Kafka, the Duck’s starting pitcher, was replaced by Cole Stringer after he allowed eight hits and five runs in the first 2.1 innings. Stringer was then replaced by Peyton Fuller after Stringer conceded three hits and three runs in the following three innings. Junior Nico Tellache was chosen to retire Stringer and close out the game.
“It’s been frustrating, it's an uphill battle," Oregon head coach George Horton said. "They [pitchers] have not been successful all year.”
The Beavers continued their first inning momentum into the rest of the game starting with Malone earning his third RBI in the following inning.
In addition to Malone's RBI in the second, OSU scored an additional run in the third inning to take a 5-2 lead going into the fourth.
For the Ducks, Spencer Steer earned Oregon's second run with an RBI off a single in the third inning. Steer earned three total RBIs off of two hits by the end of the game.
Other notable players for the Ducks were Sam Novitske, with two hits and one run off of four at bats, and Evan Williams, who had a hit and a run off of four at bats. Freshman infielder Kyle Froemke also added a run and a RBI for the Ducks as well.
Although the Ducks hitting improved on Saturday, their defense in both pitching and fielding was not enough to take on the Beavers. OSU had 12 hits in the game compared to the eight hits by the Ducks. The Ducks also had two errors compared to the error free Beavers.
Once again Beaver fans were prominent and vocal throughout the game. Similar to Friday's game, the large and loud crowds of OSU fans made the game feel like an Oregon State home game instead of an Oregon one. The Beaver fans loud support at times mitigated the Duck’s home field advantage.
“Their fans are passionate and they love their ball club," Horton said. "It’s a tough pill to swallow. We have the obligation to improve this rivalry.”
The Ducks will conclude the Civil War series Sunday at noon.