It was another 6-2 victory that won Oregon (45-13, 22-7) the series with Utah (20-31, 6-23) Saturday, with 5 more Ute errors cementing a big Duck lead that the Webfoots rode to victory.
J.J. Altobelli and Aaron Payne accounted for a majority of the Ducks’ damage on offense — Altobelli and Payne batted in two runs, led in hits with two apiece of the team’s 10, and together ran in four of the Ducks’ six runs. They got going early again with the Ducks taking home three runs in the third alone, all unearned.
After Shaun Chase marched around the bases in good ol’ George Horton fashion to put the Ducks on the board, Altobelli would score on a Payne single that turned into extra bases, and Payne — on third because of a throwing error — stole home to give Oregon a 3-0 lead.
Payne ran in another in the fifth on a play with Nick Catalano to put the lead at 5, and a Tyler Baumgartner RBI triple in the sixth gave the Ducks a lead they’d never give up, 6-0 after six full.
Cole Irvin got the Saturday start and went through eight full innings of Utes, allowing just 8 hits and 2 walks against a strikeout. Irvin got his 11th win (11-3) on the season, tying last year’s Ducks ace Alex Keudell for the school record for wins. Christian Jones got a full ninth inning, allowing a hit and a walk, but leaving the final frame scoreless.
Oregon will be looking for a sweep Sunday starting at 11:30 a.m. against the Ute squad. Jake Reed will be on the mound to face an offense that has thus far mustered up 10 hits in two contests.
Though Horton’s team will no doubt be avoiding the scoreboard tomorrow, the Beavers start their third game with the Cougars at noon. The pair of Beaver State games will decide the Pac-12 regular season championship as the closest challenger, UCLA, has lost both its first two games to Stanford; should OSU win, they claim the title outright, but if OSU loses and Oregon wins, the Ducks gets a share of the title with the Beavers.