HONOLULU – Early errors caused havoc for Oregon on opening day as the Ducks lost their season opener 4-1 to Hawai’i on a windy evening at Les Murakami Stadium.
Hawai’i senior right-hander Matt Sisto (1-0) also puzzled the Ducks’ lineup for most of the game, tossing seven shutout innings, while surrendering just two hits and recording five strikeouts.
Trailing 4-0, Oregon made things interesting in the top of the ninth as the club’s freshmen staged a two-out rally scoring the Ducks’ first and only run of the game on three consecutive hits. In his first at-bat as a Duck, Billy Flamion drove in Shaun Chase from second with a single to center field.
Oregon tallied four of its seven hits in the top of the ninth with freshmen responsible for each of those hits: Chase, Scott Heineman, Flamion and Thomas Walker. After Flamion’s RBI single, Walker loaded the bases with his second hit of the game, but Hawai’i left fielder Kaeo Aliviado squashed any chance of UO comeback making a diving grab in foul territory with Aaron Payne at the plate.
Jesse Moore earned the save for the Rainbows, after facing two batters in the top of the ninth.
Hawai’i right-hander Brent Harrison was charged with Oregon’s only run after tossing one and 2/3 innings in relief of Sisto, surrendering four hits and striking out three.
In the bottom of the third, Hawai’i did its first damage with two outs on the scoreboard. After a fielding error from J.J. Altobelli put Breland Almadova on first, the speedy center fielder stole second to get into scoring position. Collin Bennett’s two-out RBI single through the right side scored Almadova as Hawai’i took a 1-0 lead.
Hawai’i took advantage of another Oregon error in the bottom of the fifth as freshman lefty Jordan Spencer took over in relief of UO starter Alex Keudell. A high pop up was dropped by Ryon Healy to put – Stephen Ventimilia - the leadoff batter aboard for the Rainbows. He stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, before scoring unearned on a Zack Swasey sacrifice fly to center.
Keudell (0-1) took the loss for Oregon, allowing one unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out three.
The Rainbows went ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two runs on two hits and two walks. After loading the bases on two base singles and a walk, Spencer walked in a run as the Rainbows took a 3-0 advantage. With the bases loaded, Joey Housey came on in relief and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Bennett as the Rainbows went ahead 4-0. But Housey recovered as Max Duval flied out to center with two runners on.
In one and 1/3 innings, Spencer allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks. Housey tossed one and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball while fanning one.
Freshman Thomas Thorpe tossed one inning allowing on hit.
Walker led Oregon with a 2-for-4 outing as five of UO’s seven hits came from the freshman class.
The Ducks and Rainbows play game two of the series at 8:05 p.m. (PT) on Saturday.
Notes: Alex Keudell was the starting pitcher in tonight’s game, the first time Tyler Anderson did not start on opening night for Oregon since the program was reinstated…Oregon is now 18-16 in season openers…Shuan Chase and Thomas Walker made their first start in an Oregon uniform…the first hit of the 2012 season was recorded by Brett Thomas on a single up the middle to lead off the fourth…Jordan Spencer made his first debut for Oregon on the mound, replacing Alex Keudell in the bottom of the fifth…freshman Thomas Thorpe made his first appearance for Oregon in the bottom of the eighth in relief of Joey Housey.