SALT LAKE CITY – Cole Irvin tied the Oregon single-season win record Saturday leading the No. 8 Ducks to a 6-2 win over Utah on Saturday at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
The freshman lefty picked up his 11th win while allowing two runs on seven hits in eight innings pitched. The 11 wins match the school record Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Alex Keudell set last season while leading Oregon to within one game of the College World Series.
Oregon staked Irvin (11-3) to an early lead. The Ducks scored three unearned runs in the top of the third after the fourth error of the two game series by Utah on Oregon bunts. J.J. Altobelli singled in the first run scoring Shaun Chase who reached on a throwing error by starting pitcher Dalton Carroll on a bunt.
Aaron Payne drove in Altobelli with a base hit and then scored on a double steal where Scott Heineman broke for second before Carroll delivered the ball to the plate. Carroll stepped off and threw to second allowing Payne to break to the plate and score while Heineman retreated safely to first on the play to give Oregon (45-13, 22-7 Pac-12) a 3-0 lead.
The Ducks added two runs in the top of the fifth on a RBI single by Steven Packard. The Ducks’ designated hitter lined a single to right field driving in Payne from second. Nick Catalano advanced to third on the hit and scored when Carroll threw the relay away trying to make a play on Packard advancing to second.
Tyler Baumgartner put Oregon up 6-0 in the sixth with a RBI triple to right field scoring Altobelli. Utah (20-31, 6-23 Pac-12) scored single runs in both the seventh and eighth off Irvin but couldn’t get any closer giving Oregon the series win with identical 6-2 victories in the first two games of the series.
Altobelli went 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored to lead the Ducks, while Payne was 2-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored.
Oregon will go for the sweep on Sunday against the Utes with the final game of the three-game series starting at 11:30 a.m. (PT). Jake Reed (6-4) will take the mound for the Ducks. With a win, Oregon will tie the school record for most wins in a season with 46.