EUGENE, Ore. —Gabe Matthews hit his 48th career double to set Oregon baseball’s career record Tuesday, though it came in a 6-4 nonconference loss to Portland before 303 fans in PK Park.
The 19th-ranked Ducks (16-7) committed two errors and misplayed a couple of other situations that contributed significantly to the defeat. Thus was squandered a two-hit day for Matthews that included his record-setting double, and a four-hit game by Aaron Zavala.
“Even though it’s a loss today and it’s real salt in the wound — we didn’t play well, and we know it — the positive is what Gabe Matthews has done for the program, in his consistency, his steadiness of play,” UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. “And he’s a great kid.”
How It Happened: Oregon’s inconsistencies defensively cropped up early. The Pilots rallied with two outs in the first inning off UO starter Isaac Ayon, getting two on via a single and a hit batter. Both runners moved up on a passed ball, and the lead runner scored when the Ducks failed to cover home plate.
Zavala and Matthews led off the bottom of the second with singles, and each moved up a base on an error. Robby Ashford scored Zavala with a sacrifice fly, and Josh Kasevich followed with a single to score Matthews and give Oregon a 2-1 lead.
The Pilots retook the lead in the third with a three-run homer, and the Ducks couldn’t answer despite a two-out single by Zavala followed by a Matthews walk in the bottom of the inning. That duo took it upon themselves to provide a run in the fifth, when Zavala singled with two outs and Matthews brought him in with his record-setting double.
Portland answered in the top of the sixth, however, taking a 6-3 lead with a two-run double on which Ashford got a late break on the ball in center field. Zavala made it 6-4 in the seventh with a double that scored Kenyon Yovan, but the Ducks stranded two runners in the eighth with a chance to do more damage.
On The Mound: RJ Gordon threw 2.1 scoreless innings after taking over from Ayon, striking out four and allowing three hits with no walks. Nice Tellache got the final two outs of the sixth to end Portland’s rally at two runs in that frame, then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Andrew Mosiello took over from there, striking out four in two perfect innings of work.
At The Plate: Zavala was 4-for-5, his 10th multi-hit game already this season. That improved his average to .443 through 23 games, which would rank in the top 20 nationally based on statistics entering the day. Kasevich had two hits as did Matthews, who broke Mitchell Tolman’s UO career record for doubles.
Tristan Hanoian started at second base and had two hits as well.
“Tristan’s a hard-working kid,” Wasikowski said. “He comes from a great family and I’m thrilled he can jump in there and contribute like he has.”
On Deck: The Ducks open a three-game series against Oregon State at PK Park on Friday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).