EUGENE, Ore. -- Another solid start from Alex Keudell and a pair of extra-base hits from Kyle Garlick led the eighth-ranked Ducks to a 6-2 series-opening victory over Washington State on Friday night at PK Park.
Things started quickly for Oregon (27-10, 11-5), as back-to-back singles from Aaron Payne and Ryon Healy set the table for Garlick, who hit a two-run, two-out triple to put Washington State (18-16, 5-7) behind 2-0 early.
The two-run lead was all Keudell (6-3) needed as the senior pitched seven solid innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits, and tying a season high with seven strikeouts. Keudell was not only effective, he was efficient, throwing first pitch strikes to 23 of 32 batters to face him. The Portland, Ore., native also earned his fifth consecutive win on the mound.
Washington State tried its best to stay in the game, as Taylor Ard singled in a run to cut the lead to 2-1 in the third inning.
Oregon took a 5-1 lead in the fourth as Garlick led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run, to claim his fifth round-tripper of the season. Thomas Walker continued the inning with a double to left center, before scoring on Kevin Shepherd’s RBI single up the middle. Shepherd moved into scoring position on the play, and scored after stealing third as the throw from catcher Collin Slaybaugh was wide of the bag, allowing Shepherd to score on the error.
Washington State starter Sean Hartnett (0-1) never got into a rhythm against the Ducks, as the freshman only lasted three and 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits.
Relievers Tommy Thorpe, and Jimmie Sherfy kept the lead intact for Keudell. Thorpe struck out three batters, while Sherfy struck out two, as his total climbs to 55 on the year in 36 and 1/3 innings on the mound.
Andrew Mendenhall capped the game with a double to left center in the bottom of the eighth, scoring Brett Thomas to take a 6-2 advantage.
Slaybaugh and Derek Jones led WSU with two hits apiece.
Garlick finished his day 2-for-3 with three RBIs and one run scored for Oregon, while Payne added two hits as well.
The Ducks are in action again on Saturday, as Oregon plays game two of the three-game weekend series with the Cougars. Right hander Jake Reed (4-2, 2.19) will take the mound for the Ducks, opposite southpaw Joe
Pistorese (2-2, 2.78) for the Cougars.
Notes: Kyle Garlick hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, recording Oregon’s 20th home run of the year and surpassing the total of 19 from 2011…Alex Keudell’s 18 career wins rank third all-time at Oregon… despite starting against WSU three previous times, Alex Keudell earned his first career victory over the Cougars (All three previous appearances were no-decisions)…Thomas Walker doubled for the first time as a Duck.