Ahlstrom dominant again, Ducks beat Huskies

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EUGENE – Robert Ahlstrom struck out a career-high 11 in seven scoreless innings while Oregon used a pair of big innings to break the game open in an 8-0 win over Washington in game one of a Pac-12 Conference series at PK Park on Friday night.
 
Ahlstrom dominated allowing just four hits while not walking anyone. The Ducks’ lefty held an opponent without a run through seven innings for the third consecutive start. Two weeks ago, Ahlstrom held UCLA to no runs through eight innings, before surrendering three runs in the ninth in a 5-3 win.
 
Last week, the Ducks ace held Washington State, the second-best hitting team in the Pac-12, to no runs through seven innings on just six hits with only one walk.
 
Tonight, Ahlstrom extended his scoreless streak to 14 innings while not giving up a run in 23 of his last 24 innings pitched dating back to a scoreless sixth inning at USC.
 
How It Happened: Ahlstrom had to overcome runners at the corners with no outs situations in both the second and third innings to keep Washington (17-22, 3-13 Pac-12) off the board.
 
After Will Simpson doubled off the center-field wall and Michael Snyder hit a chopper over Sam Novitske’s head at third to put runners at the corners in the second, Ahlstrom (5-3) fanned the next two batters before getting a weak groundout to get out of the inning unscathed.
 
An infield single, wild pitch and Gabe Matthews’ error put runners at the corner again in the third inning forcing Ahlstrom to work his magic once more. This time, the Eugene product stuck out two-hole hitter Braiden Ward before getting Cole Miller to pop out for the second out. Ahlstrom then fanned Simpson, who doubled in his last at-bat, to finish the inning.
 
Ahlstrom, who had five of his 11 strikeouts in the first three innings, cruised from there allowing just one more batter to reach base over his final four innings of work.
 
He struck out the side in the fourth, got a double play and a fly out in the fifth after giving up a lead-off single, before getting 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and the seventh. He struck out two in the sixth and one in the seventh to reach his career high in strikeouts.
 
Oregon’s offense gave Ahlstrom plenty of run support with a three-run inning in the third and with four more runs in the fifth.
 
Sam Novitske led off the third with a walk and moved to second on a Jack Scanlon fly out to the warning track in right field. Gavin Grant followed with a walk, before Tanner Smith delivered a one-out RBI ground-rule double scoring Novitske from second for a 1-0 lead.
 
Kenyon Yovan made it a two-run game with a RBI on a ground out to the shortstop. Gabe Matthews finished the rally with a two-out RBI single scoring Smith for a 3-0 lead.
 
Grant made it a four-run game in the fifth with a leadoff home run, his second career round tripper. After an out, Yovan walked, moved to second on a Matthews’ single and advanced to third to load the bases on an Aaron Zavala hit by a pitch.
 
Josh Kasevich broke the game open with a bases clearing double into the left field gap to give Oregon a 7-0 lead.
 
The Ducks (28-11, 12-7 Pac-12) tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning. After a pair of strikeouts, Scanlon reached on a walk, moved to second when Grant walked and scored on Tanner Smith’s second ground-rule double of the game.
 
Box Score Notes: Ahlstrom lowered his ERA to 2.11 with the seven scoreless innings … He combined with freshmen Isaac Ayon and Rio Britton for his third combined shutout of the season … The other two came at Oregon State on March 12 and at Washington State last Friday … Matthews (2-for-4, RBI, R) drove in his 127th career run, leaving him one shy of tying Mitchell Tolman (2013-15) for second all-time in career RBI at Oregon and two behind Spencer Steer (2017-19) for the career record … His two hits gave him his 15th multi-hit game of the season and the 60th of his career, which is an Oregon record … Kasevich (1-for-4, 3 RBI) tied for the team lead with his 10th multi-RBI game of the season and the 11th of his career … Smith (2-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 R, 2 2B) had his 15th multi-hit game of the season and the 29th of his career … He also had his sixth multi-RBI game of the season and the 14th of his career … Grant (2-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 R) tallied his seventh multi-hit game of the season and the 10th of his career.
 
On Deck: Oregon will look for the series win on Saturday with a 2:05 first pitch. Cullen Kafka (4-2, 2.65) takes the mound for the Ducks while Tyson Guerrero (1-2, 3.23) pitches for Washington.
 

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