Drew Cowley (15) swings while at bat. Oregon Baseball takes on University of Arizona at PK Field in Eugene, Ore. on May 20, 2022. (Mary Grosswendt/Emerald)

Another game, another absolute shallacking for Oregon.

The Ducks completed Saturday’s doubleheader sweep by crushing Northwestern State 13-3 in yet another dominant offensive performance. It was the fifth straight game the Ducks have reached double digits, bringing their total to 68 runs in that span.

“We’ve been talking about a boulder getting pushed up a hill, and now we’re feeling that boulder rolling downhill,” Oregon DH Drew Cowley said. “You can see it with guys’ performances, up and down the lineup and guys coming off the bench.”

In the first inning, the Ducks continued to have trouble with Jeffrey Elkins, as Leo Uelmen started the game by walking him for his fourth consecutive base on balls in the doubleheader. But Dominic Hellman, getting the start at first base, made a nice snag and turned a double play to help Uelmen navigate through the inning.

“[Hellman] gets most of his accolade for his power and stuff, but that was a game-changing — literally, in the first inning — a game-changing double play right there,” head coach Mark Wasikowski said. “I thought that was probably the play of the game, and it happened before any outs were recorded in the whole ballgame.”

Unlike the first two games of the series, Oregon scored first. The Ducks put up six runs in the first inning, helped out by a wild pitch and a passed ball that allowed Cowley and Hellman to reach on strikeouts. Tanner Smith, Bennett Thompson and Carter Garate also had RBI hits in the rally.

In the third inning, Uelmen issued his second walk, but he froze Elkins on a 3-2 pitch to hold the six-run lead.

“I was getting ahead of batters more than I have in the past,” Uelmen said. “And the slider was working well today. I got ahead with that a lot, first-pitch sliders that they took. They were just sitting on fastballs.”

The Demons threatened in the sixth, drawing their third walk of the game after Carter Garate dropped a pop-up. On a flyout to right, Rikuu Nishida made a great throw to nab the runner trying to advance to third. It ended the fourth hitless inning of work for Uelmen.

Oregon put up four more runs in the fourth inning, starting with one scratched out almost single-handedly by Nishida. The pesky 5-foot-6 right fielder hit an infield single, then stole second base. Cowley hit a soft ground ball to the pitcher that he beat out for an infield hit, and Nishida just kept running as he caught the Demons sleeping, scoring all the way from second on a little nubber.

“I thought that was a tremendous hustle play for him to score on that,” Wasikowski said.

Smith then unloaded a three-run bomb to make it 10-0. It was the third homer of the series for Smith, who started by breaking the Oregon hits record and has not slowed down.

Northwestern State got on the board with a pair of runs in the fifth. Uelmen issued a leadoff walk, and with two outs, he gave up three straight hits. After a mound meeting, he settled down and stopped the bleeding, then came back and threw a hitless sixth.

“I lost my focus in the fifth. I let some things go to my head,” Uelmen said. “It was just getting back in the dugout and calming down, getting back to what I did the first four innings.”

Cowley led off the bottom of the sixth with a double, and Smith drove him in with his third hit of the game. For the second straight day, Smith was a triple short of the cycle.

Garate added another in the seventh, blasting the second home run of his career to make it 12-2. The Ducks loaded the bases on Nishida’s third hit, a Cowley walk and a Drew Smith hit by pitch in his first collegiate plate appearance, but Owen Diodati pinch hit and struck out. In the next inning, Bennett Thompson hit his first home run of the year to give Oregon its 13th run.

The Demons got one back with an RBI bloop single in the eighth, in Grayson Grinsell’s second inning of work. Grinsell struck out six over the final three innings of the game, including four in a row. It put the capper on the 13-3 win.

“Just trying to build off of momentum pieces, and competing and making adjustments,” Wasikowski said. “I didn’t think we were doing that early in the season… We’ve been able to string some things together, and hopefully we can continue to do that.”

Oregon (14-7) has now won five in a row and will look to complete a sweep of Northwestern State (13-10) Sunday at noon.

Sports Reporter

Joseph “Mojo” Hill is a sports writer and associate editor from Los Angeles. He enjoys watching and covering baseball. Outside of writing, he enjoys watching movies, playing tennis and playing clarinet.