EUGENE, Ore. – Portland tagged Oregon for three runs in the seventh inning, and the Ducks failed to answer as the Pilots defeated No. 15 Oregon 5-3 on Tuesday night at PK Park.
In the eighth, Portland (5-0) trotted preseason All-American closer Chris Dennis out to the mound as the right-hander earned his fourth save of the season and the 15th of his career by earning the final out of the eighth inning and retiring the side in the ninth.
Portland starter Kyle Kraus (2-0) was credited with the win after tossing 6 and 1/3 innings, and allowing three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two in his second win of the season.
Oregon’s Alex Keudell (1-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on six hits and one walk in 6 and 1/3 innings on the mound.
Portland held a slim 9-8 advantage in hits over Oregon (4-4), but the Ducks stranded nine base runners compared to just two left on for the Pilots.
Trailing 2-1, the Ducks let the seventh inning get away from them as Portland put up three runs on three hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Kuedell was pulled after surrendering a one-out single to Beau Fraser, before Matt Mardesich singled off freshman right-hander Ryon Healy, who was making his first appearance on the mound this year.
Freshman Porter Clayton then took over on the mound and loaded the bases by plunking pinch-hitter Ben Grubb. Clayton then walked in a run as Brian Frattali was issued a base on balls. With the bases loaded, junior right-hander Scott McGough took over on the mound and recorded the second out before yielding a two-run single up the middle to Kevin Armijo as Portland took a commanding 5-1 advantage.
Oregon battled back in the bottom of the seventh as Ryan Hambright led things off with a double down the left field line. Connor Hofmann was put on after getting plunked and an infield single from KC Serna loaded the bases. Keeler Brynteson came on in relief of Kraus and struck out Oregon pinch-hitter Shawn Peterson. Portland reliever Brent Miller then took over on the hill and UO freshman Aaron Jones belted a two-out, two-run single through the left side as the Ducks closed 5-3.
Oregon would get no closer as the Ducks had two runners on in the eighth, but Dennis came on to record the final out before retiring the side in the ninth.
Jones continues to lead Oregon on an eight-game hitting streak and despite moving from leadoff to the third spot with the return of Serna, led the Ducks with a 2-for-4, three-RBI performance, including the first triple of his young career.
Hambright was 2-for-4 for Oregon, while Marcus Piazzisi was 2-for-2 with a run scored.
Mardesich and Turner Gill led Portland with two hits apiece.
Riley Henricks gave Portland a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, sending a 2-0 pitch over the wall in left as he homered for the second time this season.
Oregon tied the game in the bottom of the third as Piazzisi laced a two-out double to right center, and scored on Jones’ stand-up triple to the wall in right center.
Mardesich’s leadoff bloop single in the top of the fifth paid off for Portland as the Pilot third baseman scored on Gill’s RBI double down the right field line.
The Ducks return to action this weekend on the road for a three-game series at Long Beach State.
Notes: Aaron Jones is now on an eight-game hitting streak…Portland holds a 5-1 edge in the series between the two clubs since UO’s reinstatement in 2009.
BASKETBALL - M
BASKETBALL - W
GOLF - M
GOLF - W
TENNIS - M
TENNIS - W
TRACK & FIELD
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