TUCSON, Ariz. – Senior Alex Keudell held the conference’s top-hitting team to just one run in nine innings, as the right-hander spurred No.10 Oregon to a 6-1 victory over No. 11 Arizona on Friday night at Hi Corbett Field.
Keudell (8-3) tossed his third complete game of the year, second in a row, holding the Wildcats (29-14, 12-7) to one run on seven hits while matching a season-high seven strikeouts. The native of Portland, Ore., has now won seven consecutive starts.
Oregon’s (33-13, 15-7) offense scored six runs on 13 hits, as reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week Aaron Payne led the Ducks with a 3-for-4 evening, while knocking in three runs.
The Ducks, currently on a six-game winning streak and in first place in the league standings, totaled 13 hits - the most for the club since registering 15 against West Virginia on March 10.
Arizona’s Kurt Heyer (8-2) took the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) as the Ducks tallied 12 hits off the right-hander while he issued one walk and struck out five.
Payne gave Oregon a 2-0 lead in the top of the second with a two-out, two-run single lined into right field. Payne battled back from a 0-2 count, and drove in Ryan Hambright and Brett Hambright, who led off the inning with back-to-back singles.
Oregon took advantage of an error in the sixth that kept the top of the inning alive as the Ducks had runners on the corners with two outs. Payne took advantage of another two-out opportunity, driving in Connor Hofmann with a single to right. Aaron Jones then drove in his team-leading 32nd RBI of the year, as Kevin Shepherd scored on a single to left.
After throwing six shutout innings, Arizona finally roughed up Keudell in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one run on three hits. A two-out double from Bobby Brown kept the inning moving for the Wildcats, and Riley Moore’s RBI single to center scored Arizona’s first and only run of the game. Another base hit followed by an error on the play put runners on second and third, but Joseph Maggi grounded out to Shepherd for the final out to limit the damage.
Keudell did not give up his first hit of the game until Brown’s two-out single into right center in the bottom of the fifth. An Arizona runner did not get into scoring position until the sixth, and with runners on the corners and two outs, Keudell fanned Alex Mejia.
Healy scored Oregon’s sixth run with a solo home run off Wildcat reliever Mathew Troupe in the ninth. Healy finished his day with a 2-for-5 effort.
Brown and Johnny Field led Arizona with two hits apiece.
The Wildcats and Ducks will play game two of the series from Hi Corbett Field at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Notes: Oregon extends its win streak to six games and remains in first place in the Pac-12 conference standings…each Oregon player in the starting lineup recorded a hit…in his last seven starts, Keudell is 7-0 with a 0.95 ERA. He has tossed three completes games and in 57 innings has allowed just six runs while holding opposing batters to a .205 clip. Keudell’s 20 career wins rank second all-time…Ryon Healy’s home run was his third of the season and the ninth of the year hit at Hi Corbett Field…Oregon’s 13 hits were the club’s most against a Pac-12 opponent this season and the most for the club since totaling 15 in 12-0 win over West Virginia on March 10…Oregon has now totaled 76 two-RBIs in 2012…Kyle Garlick has seven RBIs in UO’s last four games, while Aaron Payne has nine in Oregon’s last six games.