NASHVILLE – Earlier in the week, it was bombs away for the University of Oregon, which scored 39 runs in a three-game stretch. But for the second straight day against No. 17 Vanderbilt (1-5), the Ducks (6-1) pitched well, took advantage of their opponent’s mistakes and played flawless defense in victory – this time a 7-2 result Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
Freshman Jake Reed (1-0) made the most of his second career start, shrugging of a shaky first inning to toss six innings of three-hit, two-run ball. He walked three – none after the second inning – and struck out five.
Tommy Thorpe and Joey Housey combined two close out the win, Oregon’s sixth straight since dropping the season opener at Hawaii on Feb. 17.
Scott Heineman was 1 for 3 with a game-high two RBIs for the Ducks, who were outhit in the game, 6-5.
After giving up a 1-0 lead in the fourth, the Commodores never got closer than three runs, when they made it 5-2 with a single run in the sixth.
Oregon’s bats got off to a slow start as Vandy left-hander Sam Selman (0-2) retired the side in order over the first three innings. And while the UO sticks were still mostly silent in the top of the fourth, four walks, a balk, a wild pitch and an error on a pickoff attempt resulted in three runs.
After J.J. Altobelli led off with a fly out to center, Aaron Payne walked and stole second. Aaron Jones and Ryon Healy followed with walks of their own to load the bases for Shaun Chase, who struck out swinging. With a 2-2 count on Kyle Garlick, Selman uncorked a wild pitch to score Payne and balked home Jones.
Garlick ended up walking and on his steal of second, Healy was caught off the bag at third, but catcher Spencer Navin’s pickoff attempt went into left field, allowing the Oregon DH to score the team’s third run. Heineman smacked the Ducks’ first base hit to make it 4-1, plating Garlick and chasing Selman.
The Ducks went up 5-1 in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Payne, bringing home Brett Hambright, who led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch, went to second on a base hit from Andrew Mendenhall and advanced to third Altobelli’s sacrifice bunt.
After the Dores scored a lone run in their half of the sixth, Oregon scratched out single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to put the game away. UO’s final run in the eighth, scored by Chase, was its first scored by a player who had reached base via something other than a walk or HBP. Only one of the Ducks’ seven runs was driven in via a hit.
Reed wasn’t sharp in the opening frame, walking a pair and allowing an RBI single to Chris Harvey to give the Dores the early lead. The right-hander cruised through the next four innings before allowing a run on two hits in the sixth. He pitched out of a potential jam in his final frame thanks to a nice play by Payne at second base before coaxing an inning-ending double play from Harvey.
The two teams are scheduled to wrap up their three-game series Sunday at 12 p.m. CT (10 a.m. PT). RHP Brando Tessar (1-0, 4.05) will take the mound for the Ducks against Vanderbilt RHP Drew VerHagen (1-0, 6.75).