EUGENE, Ore. – Catcher Eddie Rodriguez drove in four runs to back a solid pitching performance by Madison Boer as Oregon defeated Southern Utah 7-1 before 1,758 fans Tuesday evening at PK Park.
Rodriguez led the Ducks by going 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs and four RBIs, Oregon, 17-6, won for the 12th time in its last 13 games.
The Ducks broke the game open with a three-run fifth inning. KC Serna was hit by a pitch leading off and was forced at second by Marcus Piazzisi. Jack Marder singled to put Ducks at first and second, before Rodriguez doubled off the left field wall to score both runners. Rodriguez then scored on Steven Packard’s single for a 5-0 lead.
Oregon struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Rodriguez led off with a walk and Packard singled to put Ducks at first and second. After Danny Pulfer moved the runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt, the Ducks scored their first run on an unusual play.
Designated hitter Ryan Hambright pulled a sharp grounder to first and Bucky Aona threw home in an attempt to cut down Rodriguez at the plate. Rodriguez retreated to third and SUU catcher Taylor Shaw then threw to the third baseman Matt Sanford, who dropped the ball in a collision with Rodriguez.
Rodriguez then raced home with the game’s first run as Packard was caught in a run down between second and third and was eventually tagged out by leftfielder Marcus Romero. Hambright advanced to second on the rundown and scored on J.J. Altobelli’s two-out single for a 2-0 lead.
Rodriguez added another pair of runs for the Ducks in the bottom of the sixth. Serna singled and Piazzisi and Marder walked to chase Thunderbirds’ starter Kyle Melling. Braden Yardley relieved and Rodriguez lashed a double into the right field corner to score Serna and Piazzisi. Marder was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Boer, the Oregon starter, struck out seven, while only allowing four hits and two walks in five innings to even his record at 1-1 on the season.
He worked out of a jam in the bottom if the first. After getting two quick outs, Boer walked Matt Sanford and surrendered a single up the middle to Bucky Aona that chased Sanford to third before striking out Brock Westphal looking to end the threat.
Southern Utah (4-13) got on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Mitchell Kauweloa that scored pinch-runner Trevor Randolph.
Kyle Melling (1-2) took the loss after giving up seven runs, six earned, on eight hits in five and two-thirds innings as the Thunderbirds fell to 4-13 on the season.
Aona led Southern Utah at the plate with two hits.
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