Game Two: Ducks Can’t Convert Chances in Loss to Sooners
EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon had several opportunities on Saturday evening at PK Park, but the No. 17 Ducks failed to convert in a 3-2 loss to 22nd-ranked Oklahoma in day two at the Nike College Showcase.
Oregon (11-3), left runners stranded at third in the fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings, and struck out a season-high 14 times.
Oregon stranded a total of eight runners in the game, but in the bottom of the ninth still had life as Oklahoma reliever Jordan John issued Brett Hambright a two-out walk. Shaun Chase then singled to right field as pinch runner Kevin Shepherd made his way to third. But John coaxed a pop up out of J.J. Altobelli to squash any hopes of an Oregon comeback.
John was credited with the save after shutting out Oregon for two innings on one hit and two walks while striking out four. Oklahoma starter Jonathan Gray (2-2) was credited with the win, after striking out 10 Ducks and allowing just two runs on eight hits in seven innings of work. Gray also did not walk one Oregon batter.
Freshman right-hander Jake Reed (1-1) was credited with the loss for Oregon despite recording his fourth quality start. In six and 2/3 innings, Reed allowed two runs – one earned – on five hits and three walks. Left-hander Tommy Thorpe allowed a run in 2/3 of an inning in relief, while Jimmie Sherfy tossed the final inning and 2/3.
In the bottom of the eighth with Oklahoma leading 3-1, pinch hitter Brett Thomas gave UO hope hammering a double into left field before scoring on Altobelli’s single up the middle to bring Oregon within one, 3-2. That spelled the end of the evening for Gray, as John took over on the mound in relief.
A wild pitch from John moved Altobelli into scoring position, but he recovered to strike out Payne. John walked Aaron Jones and Oregon’s runners were at second and third after a Ryon Healy groundout, but Kyle Garlick got caught looking at strike three to end the eighth.
Tied 1-1 after six, Oklahoma regained the lead in the top of the seventh as a free base and error cost Oregon. Cody Reine was plunked to put the leadoff runner on, and as the Ducks tried to pick him off first, Hambright’s throw sailed into right field allowing Reine to move to second. Reine moved to third on a groundout and scored on Tanner Toal’s RBI single to center.
Altobelli helped the Ducks even the score in the bottom of the sixth after ending the top of the frame with a highlight reel defensive play. The junior led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to right, and scored on Aaron Payne’s first-pitch double down the right field line.
Payne and Altobelli led the Ducks with two hits apiece.
Oklahoma opened the scoring in the third, taking advantage of Chase Simpson’s lead-off triple, as he scored on Toal’s groundout to second base.
Notes: Oregon struck out a season-high 14 times.
Game One: Jones' Grand Slam Highlights Win Over West Virginia
EUGENE, Ore. -- No. 17 Oregon could do no wrong in Saturday’s contest against the West Virginia in the Nike College Showcase, routing the Mountaineers 12-0.
The game was shortened to eight innings due to the 10-run rule agreed upon by the head coaches prior to first pitch.
The Ducks (11-2) had a 6-0 lead after three innings of play, and their advantage expanded to 11-0 after Aaron Jones’ grand slam in the eighth put the Mountaineers (6-9) away for good.
Oregon’s offense was also helped by sophomore Kyle Garlick, and junior Ryan Hambright. Garlick went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, setting a new career high for the native of Chino Hills, Calif.
Jones’ homer wasn’t the first of the game, as Hambright hit a three-run round tripper – the first of his Oregon career in the fourth. Both Hambright and Jones set new career highs with runs driven in.
Starting pitcher Jeff Gold (3-0) allowed just four hits in an eight-inning complete-game shutout, fanning five.
Gold’s performance marks several milestones for the sophomore. His eight innings pitched is a career high, and his first complete-game shutout also marks the first time Oregon has shut out an opponent since May 29, 2011 when the Ducks held Oregon State scoreless for nine innings at PK Park.
Oregon’s offense exploded for 15 hits, marking the third time this season Oregon has recorded 15 hits or more. The season high is 17 hits against Hawaii on Feb. 20. Oregon also added five stolen bases.
Sophomore Ryon Healy scored three runs for the Ducks on a 3-for-4 afternoon.
Jones’s grand slam is the first grand slam for the Ducks since J.J. Altobelli hit a grand slam against USC at PK Park on April 25, 2010.
Earlier on Saturday, Oklahoma (10-4) defeated the Mountaineers 5-2 in the first of three games at PK Park in the Nike College Showcase.