baseball - Page 3

Ducks keep title hopes alive

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BERKELEY, Calif. — Oregon hit three home runs, scored in seven of the nine innings and got a solid effort from the bullpen in an 11-5 win at California on Thursday night at Evans Diamond.
 
The win moved Oregon to within a game of league-leading Arizona, who wrapped up its league schedule last week, in the Pac-12 Conference standings. Oregon came into the weekend needing to sweep the Golden Bears (28-25, 14-14 Pac-12) to earn a share of the Pac-12 title.
 
How It Happened: Oregon took a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning with its ace, Robert Ahlstrom (8-3) on the mound, but Cal battled back with three runs in the inning to cut the Ducks’ lead to two.
 
Head coach Mark Wasikowski turned to the bullpen and got four solid inning out of Isaac Ayon, Andrew Mosiello and Rio Britton to lock up the win.
 
Ayon entered the game after two of the last three hitters Ahlstrom faced hit home runs to cut the lead to two. He got the first hitter he faced to fly out before giving up a single. He got out of the inning inducing a 6-4-3 double play.
 
Cal scored a run in the seventh off Ayon and had runners on first and second with one out when Mosiello entered the game. He got out of the inning with a fly ball and a strike out, before fanning the side in the eighth inning.
 
The Ducks tacked on two runs in the seventh, one in the eighth and two more in the ninth to push the lead to 11-5. Oregon turned to Britton to get the final three outs which included a pair of strikeouts.
 
Oregon (36-13, 19-9 Pac-12) did not waste any time getting on the board. Tanner Smith led off the game with a double and scored on a Kenyon Yovan single. Josh Kasevich made it 2-0 when he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded and no outs scoring Yovan.
 
Cal cut the lead in half with a lead-off homer in the bottom of the inning but Oregon got it right back in the top of the second. Jack Scanlon lined a shot over the right-field wall to put the Ducks up 3-1.
 
Oregon added to the lead in the top of the third. Gabe Matthews drilled his seventh home run of the season deep over the wall in right-center field for a 5-1 lead.
 
In the fourth, Cal helped the Ducks cause with four free passes. Yovan reached on a hit-by pitch, moved to second on an Aaron Zavala walk and third on a Matthews walk. Kasevich made it 6-1 driving in Yovan on a HBP.
 
The Golden Bears finally got to Ahlstrom in the sixth hitting a pair of home runs to cut Oregon’s lead to two, but the Ducks answered in the top of the seventh.
 
Kasevich led off the inning with a double off the left-field wall and scored on Anthony Hall’s fourth homer of the season to give the Ducks an 8-4 lead.
 
The teams traded runs in the bottom of the seventh and top of the eighth. After Cal scored to cut the lead to three again, Kasevich answered with his second RBI of the night for a 9-5 Oregon lead.
 
Oregon added two more runs in the top of the ninth. Gavin Grant walked to lead off the inning and moved to third on a Smith base hit. Grant scored when Yovan grounded into a double play. Zavala started a two-out rally with a base hit, moved to second when Matthews got hit by a pitch and scored on an infield Kasevich single.
 
Inside the Box Score: Kasevich (3-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 R) had three-or-more hits and 3-plus RBI in the same game for the second time this season … It was his fifth game with three or more hits this season and his fourth with at least three RBI … He tied Yovan for the team lead in multi-RBI game with his 15th … Zavala (2-for-4, 3 R, 2 BB) scored three or more runs for the fourth time this year, while finishing with his 14th game with multiple runs scored … He extended his Oregon single-season record to 57 runs scored, four more than Austin Grebeck scored in 2016 … Zavala’s two base on balls gives him 47 for the season, one behind all-time leader Guy Krause (1972) … Matthews (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB, HBP) blasted his 21st career home run, moving him into a tie with Pat McNally (1972-75) and Ron Delplanche (1965-67) for fourth all-time at Oregon … Smith (3-for-4, R, 2B, 2 BB) lead off the game with a double, extending his school record to 22 on the season … Yovan (1-for-5, RBI, 2 R) moved into sole possession of fourth on the single-season RBI list at Oregon with his 48th … He needs 10 more to pass Spencer Steer (2019) for the single-season record … Ahlstrom (5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 K) picked up his eighth win over the season, while fanning three … He moved into a tie for 10th all-time in both single season strikeouts (86) and strikeouts looking (26) at Oregon … Mosiello struck out four of the five hitters he faced to run his season strikeout-to-walk totals to 47-to-7.

Up Next: Oregon and Cal will meet in game two of the series Friday night at 6:05 p.m. Cullen Kafka (5-3, 2.56) will take the mound for the Ducks, while Sean Sullivan (3-5, 3.61) will pitch for the Bears.
 

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Ducks look for share of Pac-12 title at Cal

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Senior Day Spoiled In Extras

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EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon’s bats were hot at the start but cooled later in Sunday’s game, allowing Stanford to come back and win in extra innings, 8-5, before a limited sellout crowd of 641 in PK Park.

The No. 13 Ducks (35-13, 18-9 Pac-12) led 5-0 through three innings. But Oregon went into a midgame slump and then was unable to capitalize on rallies in the seventh and ninth innings, after the No. 17 Cardinal tied it. Stanford then scored three times in the 12th to win.

“It was a heavyweight fight all weekend long, and it feels like it right now,” UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. “It was two very good baseball teams teeing off on each other. … Obviously we are still a program trying to learn how to win, and learn how to win big games. And we didn’t do that today.”

Combined with Arizona’s comeback win at Oregon State on Sunday, Oregon’s loss eliminated the Ducks from contention for the Pac-12’s automatic bid to the postseason. A sweep at California next week would give Oregon a tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats, who took two of three games when the teams went head to head in the desert in late March.

How It Happened: A one-out single followed by back-to-back walks in the bottom of the first chased Stanford’s starter, and Josh Kasevich greeted the first Cardinal reliever with an RBI groundout for a 1-0 Oregon lead. Three more walks in the second — the latter two with two outs — forced another Stanford pitching change, and Aaron Zavala went opposite field with a single that made it 3-0.

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 23, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

Kasevich led off the third with his fourth homer of the year, and the Ducks added on with two outs. Jack Scanlon and Gavin Grant singled to prompt another pitching change, and Tanner Smith greeted yet another Stanford reliever rudely. He followed with his UO-record 21st double of the season, a hot shot off the first baseman’s glove for a 5-0 lead.

With runners on second and third, Kenyon Yovan had a chance to bust it wide open. But he grounded out, beginning a run of 11 straight Ducks retired by Stanford’s Jacob Paslich following Smith’s double.

“That’s really disappointing,” Wasikowski said, “to not be able to sustain — which is one thing our offense has been able to do this year.”

Stanford had the bases loaded with one run already on the board in the fourth before UO starter Brett Walker escaped the jam. He allowed a sacrifice fly that made it 5-2 before coaxing an inning-ending double play. Walker was removed after allowing back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth; Nick Breuser doubled off UO reliever Caleb Sloan to make it 5-4, and Breuser scored the tying run later in the inning on an RBI single.

Gabe Matthews singled with one out in the seventh to end Oregon’s run of 11 straight hitters retired. He went to third on a single by Kasevich, before Anthony Hall grounded into a double play that ended the threat.

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 23, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

UO closer Kolby Somers pitched around a one-out single in the ninth, and was in position to win when the Ducks loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning. Tristan Hanoian had the chance to play hero yet again this season but his line drive to right was caught, and hit too sharply to score Zavala from third. Sam Novitske followed with a comebacker that Stanford’s fourth reliever, Joey Dixon (2-0), fielded to get out of the inning.

Somers gamely pitched into the 12th, when a two-out single brought home the go-ahead run, and a two-run home run finally ended his day. Hanoian’s line drive in the ninth ended up starting another stretch of 11 straight Ducks retired, the last 11 hitters the home team sent to the plate.

“That’s not a sustained offense,” Wasikowski said. “And that’s usually going to contribute to losing.”

At The Plate: Zavala had his 20th multi-hit game of the season, and stole his team-high 10th base of the season while the Ducks were in the process of loading the bases in the ninth. Smith’s RBI double in the third broke the school single-season record he previously shared with Ryon Healy (2013) and Mitchell Tolman (2015).

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 23, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

Kasevich drove in two runs for the second game in a row. He now has 14 games this season with multiple RBIs, fifth-most since Oregon baseball’s reboot in 2009 (Yovan has 15 this season and is tied for third). Kasevich’s 43 RBIs for the season are 10th on the UO single-season record list.

On The Mound: Somers (1-1) pitched around two hits through his first three innings of work before hitting the wall in the 12th. Combined with the five outs he got in Friday’s win, the UO closer pitched as many innings over the weekend as two of the Ducks’ three starters. Andrew Mosiello was also lights out in two innings of work, facing the minimum in the seventh and eighth.

Up Next: The Ducks open their final series of the regular season at California on Thursday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).


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Zavala Sets Runs Record in Defeat

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EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon came from behind once but was unable to do so a second time Saturday, when the No. 13 Ducks fell 6-5 to No. 17 Stanford before a limited sellout crowd of 641 fans in PK Park.

The two teams came into the weekend both in the hunt for the Pac-12 championship, and they will play a rubber match Sunday. The loss ended Oregon’s winning streak at eight games.

“I thought we got out-pitched, I thought we got out-hit, and I thought we got out-played on defense,” UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. “… They outplayed us in all three aspects of the game, so they deserved to win.”

UO sophomore Aaron Zavala made history in defeat, scoring three times to set a school single-season record with 54 runs scored. The Keizer native broke the record of 53 set by Austin Grebeck in 2016.

“The season he’s had has been remarkable; he’s a finalist for national player of the year,” Wasikowski said. “He did a good job today at the plate; it just takes more than one man.”

How It Happened: UO starter Cullen Kafka pitched a 1-2-3 top of the first, and the Ducks staked him to a lead in the bottom of the inning. Zavala worked a two-out walk, Gabe Matthews singled him to second and Josh Kasevich followed with another single to plate the game’s first run.

A one-out error followed by an infield single put runners on the corners for the Cardinal in the third. A strikeout put Kafka in position to escape the jam, but a walk loaded the bases and a wild pitch brought in the game-tying run. Another walk loaded the bases again, and a two-run single made it 3-1.

Oregon (35-12, 18-8 Pac-12) had a response in the bottom of the third. Tanner Smith went the other way into left field for a leadoff single, and Kenyon Yovan followed with a homer into Stanford’s bullpen in the left-field corner to tie the game. Zavala was then hit by a pitch, took second on a fielder’s choice and went to third on a wild pitch, and Kasevich drove in his second run of the day with a sacrifice fly to put the Ducks up 4-3.

Stanford led off the fourth with a home run to tie the game again. A one-out walk in the fifth led to a UO pitching change, and the first pitch from reliever Nico Tellache was an RBI double that made it 5-4. The Cardinal added another solo homer in the sixth, and though the Ducks got the leadoff runner Kasevich in scoring position in the bottom of the inning, they couldn’t push the run across.

The Ducks did add on in the eighth. Zavala led off with a single, and took second on a one-out fielder’s choice. Anthony Hall came through with two outs, singling up the middle to plate Zavala for the third time in the game. Pinch-hitter Tristan Hanoian worked a one-out walk in the ninth which allowed Yovan to get another at-bat, but his flyball to center was caught to end the game.

At The Plate: Zavala led the Pac-12 in on-base percentage entering the day at .529 before reaching three times in four appearances. He scored all three times, including after the first-inning walk, his 44th of the year to tie for second on the UO single-season list with Mitchell Tolman from 2015. Guy Krause set the record of 48 in 1972.

Yovan’s home run was his 13th of the year, one shy of joining three players atop the UO single-season record list at 14. His 47 RBIs are tied for fourth on the UO single-season list, and his 15th multiple-RBI game of the season is tied for third in a single season at Oregon. Kasevich was 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, giving him 41 RBIs this spring, one shy of Oregon’s single-season top 10.

On The Mound: Kafka (5-3) went 4.1 innings, allowing five runs — two earned — on five hits with five walks, and three strikeouts. Isaac Ayon went the final four innings for the Ducks to match his longest outing of the year, allowing a home run to the first hitter he faced before settling in.

Up Next: The series concludes with Oregon sending RHP Brett Walker (6-2, 3.60) to the mound Sunday (noon, Pac-12 Network).


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Ducks Win Friday Night Thriller

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EUGENE, Ore. —Gabe Matthews hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning Friday to back stellar pitching by UO starter Robert Ahlstrom and closer Kolby Somers, as the No. 13 Oregon baseball team opened its series against fellow Pac-12 championship contender Stanford by winning 2-1 before a limited sellout crowd of 641 in PK Park.

Matthews followed a leadoff single by Aaron Zavala in the seventh with his home run that broke a scoreless tie, in the process giving Matthews a new UO career record 803 at-bats. That provided a lead for Ahlstrom, who pitched into the eighth before giving way to Somers for a five-out save.

“That’s as good a Friday night ballgame as I’ve been a part of in some time,” UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. “…It was a fun Friday night; the fans definitely were a factor in it.”

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 21, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

The Ducks (35-11, 18-7 Pac-12) entered the weekend atop the Pac-12 standings by percentage points ahead of Arizona — which beat Oregon State on Friday — and the third-place Cardinal. Oregon’s eighth straight win kept the Ducks in first place with five games left in the regular season.

“It was just an outstanding ballgame,” Wasikowski said. “It was well-played by both teams. Somebody had to lose; somebody had to win. Usually that’s the kind of game you definitely like being the home team.”

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 21, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

How It Happened: Ahlstrom won a pitcher’s duel with Stanford starter Brendan Beck, who entered the game unbeaten in 10 starts this season. Each pitched around a runner in scoring position during the second inning before pitching into the eighth, with Beck throwing an eight-inning complete game for the Cardinal (29-13, 13-9).

Ahlstrom didn’t allow a hit that left the infield until the eighth, surrendering only an infield single in the second prior to that. That runner was bunted to second before being stranded there. Josh Kasevich singled in the bottom of the inning for Oregon, moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a fielder’s choice, but he went no farther.

The Ducks threatened again in the fifth, when Anthony Hall reached on a one-out error and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. He too was stranded, and Stanford threatened in the next half-inning on a two-out walk followed by a deep drive to right-center field. But Hall tracked that ball down near the wall, and the game remained scoreless into the seventh.

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 21, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

Ahlstrom struck out the side in the top of the inning, the Eugene native continuing to hold the Cardinal in check. In the bottom of the inning, the Keizer native Zavala led off with a single and the Salem native Matthews followed with his sixth home run of the year, into Oregon’s right-field bullpen.

Ahlstrom opened the eighth with his fourth straight strikeout, his 10th of the game. Stanford finally found outfield grass with a double and a single, and Ahlstrom was pulled after 119 pitches. The first batter Somers faced hit a comebacker on which the Hillsboro native rushed a throw to second in hopes of getting an inning-ending double play; the throw pulled the fielder off the bag, allowing a run to score and putting two on with one out in a one-run game.

But Somers struck out the next batter and then coaxed a groundball on which UO third baseman Sam Novitske fired to first, just beating the runner to end the inning. The Cardinal created a little more drama in the ninth by working a two-out walk, but Somers slammed the door for his 10th save of the season.

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 21, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

On The Mound: Ahlstrom made it through at least seven innings for the fourth time in his last five starts. He came into the day leading all Pac-12 starters with an ERA of 2.10 before lowering it to 2.03 with Friday’s performance.

“I feel like I’ve put together a pretty good stretch,” said Ahlstrom, who allowed three hits and two walks with striking out 10. “Every time I’ve pitched, I feel like I give my team a chance to win. That’s my goal.”

At The Plate: Singles by Kasevich in the second and Jack Scanlon in the third were Oregon’s only hits until the decisive bottom of the seventh inning. Matthews said Beck was mixing up his fastball, changeup, slider and curveball to keep the Ducks at bay — until the seventh.

“I was just trying to square something up through the middle of the field,” Matthews said. “He threw me a curveball that hung up a little bit, and I was able to put a good swing on it.”

The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 21, 2021 (Eric Evans Photography)

Already Oregon’s career leader in hits, RBIs, doubles and multi-hit games entering Friday, Matthews became the program’s all-time leader in at-bats on the home run. He passed previous record-holder J.J. Altobelli, who had 802 at-bats from 2010-13.

Matthews now has 20 career home runs, one ahead of Kenyon Yovan for Oregon’s active career lead and one shy of the program’s career top five. He is now six runs shy of UO career leader Aaron Payne (135, 2011-14). Zavala’s run scored on the homer was his 51st of the season, two shy of the UO single-season record set by Austin Grebeck in 2016.

Up Next: The Ducks will give the ball to RHP Cullen Kafka (5-2, 2.45) for game two of the series on Saturday at 3 p.m.


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Zavala a semifinalist for Dick Howser Trophy

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EUGENE – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has named Aaron Zavala on of 42 semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy honoring the top player in collegiate baseball.  
 
Zavala, a sophomore from Keizer, Ore., heads into this weekend’s series against No. 17 Stanford batting .394 with seven home runs, 32 RBI and 50 runs scored, while boasting a .531 on-base percentage and a .638 slugging percentage. He leads the Ducks in batting average, runs, hits (63), slugging percentage, walks (43) and stolen bases (9). He needs to score just four more runs and walk six more times to set single-season records at Oregon in both categories.
 
Nationally, the Ducks’ right fielder ranks fifth in the nation in OBP, 12th in base on balls, 14th in base on balls per game (0.96) and 25th in batting average. He leads the Pac-12 Conference in on-base percentage and base on balls, while ranking second in batting average and base on balls per game, fifth in slugging percentage, seventh in hits per game (1.40) and eighth in hits.
 
Zavala, who is just one of three Pac-12 players on the list of semifinalists, is only the third Oregon player ever to be a semifinalist and the first position player. Closer Jimmie Sherfy claimed semifinalist honors in 2013 and David Peterson earned the nod in 2017.
 
This is the 34th year of the Dick Howser Trophy. The finalists will be announced on Thursday, June 10. Due to COVID-19 protocols at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the ninth year, the announcement of this year’s winner will be done via Zoom. The winner will be unveiled on MLB Network and then, a press conference with the winner will be held after the announcement is made. The date and time for the announcement will be released in the near future.
 

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Ducks host Stanford in crucial top-25 Pac-12 showdown

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Matthews sets RBI record, Ducks notch top-25 win

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EUGENE – Gabe Matthews set his fourth career Oregon record while the No. 13 Ducks used a balanced offensive attack to pull away from No. 25 Gonzaga in a 10-3 nonconference win on Tuesday at PK Park.
 
Matthews drove in a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to give him the career RBI record at Oregon, while also helping the Ducks take command with a four-run lead. The two RBI gave Matthews 130 for his career, breaking Spencer Steer’s (2017-19) record. Matthews and Steer came to Oregon in the same recruiting class and played the corner infield spots for Oregon in each of Steer’s three years at Oregon.
 
Matthews’ RBI record is just the latest career record he has set this year. He broke the doubles record against Portland on April 6, before setting a new hits record at USC on April 16. He added the multi-hit games record against San Jose State on April 28.
 
 
How It Happened: Gonzaga took the early lead scoring a pair of runs in the second and another in the third, but Oregon (34-11) bounced back scoring all 10 of its runs over three innings after GU (30-14) took the 3-0 lead.
 
Tanner Smith started a four-run third inning rally with a one-out double. Kenyon Yovan followed with a two-run blast to cut the Bulldogs lead to one.
 
Aaron Zavala drew his first of two walks in the game and moved to second on a Matthews hit-by-pitch. Josh Kasevich lined a shot off Gonzaga starter Nico Zeglin’s leg that ricocheted all the way to Oregon’s dugout allowing Zavala to score the tying run and ending Zeglin’s outing.
 
Anthony Hall gave the Ducks the lead for good with a sacrifice fly, before Gonzaga finally got out of the inning.
 
The Ducks tacked on a run in the fifth to make it a two-run game. Kasevich singled to lead off the inning and later scored on a perfectly executed double-steal with Sam Novitske swiping second and Kasevich breaking for home on the throw to second.
 
Oregon blew it open in the sixth with a five-run inning. Smith reached on hit-by-pitch and Yovan drove him in with a double into the right-center field gap. 
 
Zavala doubled and Yovan moved to third setting up Matthews’ record-breaker. The Ducks first baseman lined a 3-2 pitch into the right-center gap scoring both Zavala and Yovan. Kasevich knocked Matthews in before scoring on a Jack Scanlon RBI double.
 
Box Score Notes: Oregon finished with 12 hits, the fifth consecutive game the Ducks have had double-digit hits … The Ducks’ pitching staff finished with nine strikeouts, marking the third consecutive game it has not reached double-digit Ks … It is the second-longest streak of the year behind a six-game stretch from April 11 to April 23 … Kasevich (3-for-4, 2 RBI) finished with his 17th multi-hit game of the season and the 19th of his career … It was his 12th multiple-RBI game of the year and career No. 13 … Yovan (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2B) had his team-best 14th multi-RBI game of the season and the 21st of his career … He also recorded his 13th multi-hit game of the season and the 26th of his career … Matthews (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 2B) finished with his 18th multi-hit game of the season, while extending his Oregon record to 63 career multi-hit games … He also had his eighth multiple-RBI game of the season and the 29th of his career … Novitske (2-for-3, R) had his 10th multi-hit game of the season and the 31st of his career … Nico Tellache picked up the win tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
 
Record Watch: Matthews should add the career at-bats record in Oregon’s game with Stanford on Friday … The Ducks’ senior has 800 career at-bats, just two behind J.J. Altobelli‘s (2010-13) 802 … He also moved into second on the career runs scored list with two against Gonzaga, moving ahead of Altobelli and within seven of tying Aaron Payne (2011-14) for first all-time … Matthews’ 29th career multi-RBI game tied him for fourth with Kyle Garlick (2011-14) on the all-time list … Yovan’s 19th career home run tied him with Matthews and Ryon Healy (2011-13) for sixth all-time at Oregon … Yovan added his 21st career multi-RBI game putting him alone in seventh all-time … Smith tied Mitchell Tolman (2015) and Healy (2013) for the single-season doubles record with 20 … Matthews’ two doubles gave him 19 for the season, putting him alone in fourth place … Zavala’s two runs scores gave him 50 for the season, tying Tyler Baumgartner (2014) and Payne for second all-time … He needs four more to pass Austin Grebeck (2016) for the single-season record … Zavala walked twice to run his season total to 43, six shy of setting a new school record … Yovan’s 12th home run moved him into a tie with Tom Dodd (1978) and Dave Roberts (1972) four fourth all-time … He needs to hit three more to set a school record … Kasevich had his 12th multi-RBI game moving him into a tie for seventh in a season with Marcus Piazzisi (2010).
 
They said it:
 
Gabe Matthews on breaking the record for career RBIs: “You know whose record it was before, so yeah, I knew. It was [Spencer] Steer’s, so I knew I had to beat him out of all people. We had been talking about it for a while and he wanted me to beat it but it just kind of eventually happened. I will call him tonight and let him know.”
 
Gabe Matthews on coming back from a 0-3 deficit: This team isn’t ever going to feel bad about going down three runs. I feel like the best thing about this team is that we are like ‘Oh, three runs. Let’s have a challenge and an opportunity to come back in this game.’ We have somebody that competes against us, and that is what it is all about.”
 
Gabe Matthews on the 7-game win streak:
“We are pitching it well, swinging it well and playing good defense, and continuing to get better at those three things.” 
 
Coach Wasikowski on the win:
“Gonzaga is a good baseball team. I hope that their pitcher is okay. Nico Zeglin who took that line-drive from Kasevich off of his knee. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, hoping that it is just a bruise or whatever. We hope that he is okay.” 
 
Coach Wasikowski on Evan William’s return to the field: Evan is a tremendous kid, a hard worker. He had a lot of injuries through the other part of the season, and it has just been frustrating for Evan because of the injury situation. We love him! He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, he is a tremendous kid. We really wanted to honor our players. He had heck of a catch out there to lead off the ninth.” 
 
Coach Wasikowski on his team:  “I thought the ball club came out today and played a very clean game. Again, I was just excited the way that these guys enjoying to be with each other. Just the camaraderie, the work ethic, they really are a fun group to be with on a daily basis.”
 
On Deck: Oregon hosts No. 17 Stanford at PK Park in a crucial three-game series for both teams starting on Friday at 6:05 p.m. All three games will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Network.
 
 

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Ducks host Gonzaga Tuesday in top 20 showdown

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Ducks put finishing touches on Utah sweep

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OGDEN, Utah – Kenyon Yovan and Aaron Zavala both drove in a pair of runs while Brett Walker gave Oregon another quality start in Oregon’s 9-2 Pac-12 Conference win at Utah on Sunday.
 
The Ducks, who have won six straight, completed their second consecutive sweep of a Pac-12 Conference rival, and the third of a Pac-12 Conference team this season. It is the first time Oregon has swept back-to-back conference opponents since the 2013 season, when Oregon took three from both Stanford (April 26-28 at PK Park) and Washington State (May 3-5 in Pullman).
 
Oregon (33-11, 17-7 Pac-12) swept its fifth opponent this season, which includes two four-game non-conference sweeps. The Ducks also won their ninth series of the year.
 
How It Happened: Yovan and Zavala highlighted a five-run fifth inning with back-to-back doubles helping the Ducks break the game open. Yovan drove in one run with a double to center field and Zavala followed with a two-run, two-bagger to right field.
 
It was all Oregon starter Brett Walker (6-2) and the rest of the Ducks’ pitching staff would need. Walker allowed just one run in six innings on only two hits to pick up the win. He finished his stint retiring the last eight batters he faced, as well as nine of the last 10. Nico Tellache (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 K) and Caleb Sloan (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K) combined to toss the final three innings securing the Ducks win.
 
Utah (14-29, 5-19 Pac-12) took the early lead with a run in the third inning, but Oregon came right back scoring two in the fourth, five in the fifth and one in both the sixth and seventh to build a 9-1 lead.
 
With the Utes up 1-0, Oregon put a pair of unearned runs on the board with two outs to take the lead for good in the top of the fourth. Gabe Matthews, who reached on his 44th career hit-by-pitch, scored on an error on Utah second baseman Chase Fernlund before Josh Kasevich put the Ducks ahead scoring on a wild pitch.
 
Oregon followed with five runs in the fifth, the Ducks third five-run inning in the last two days. Gavin Grant drew a leadoff walk to start the rally and moved to second on a Tanner Smith hit-by-pitch. That is when Yovan and Zavala delivered back-to-back doubles with Yovan driving in Grant and Zavala scoring both Smith and Yovan for a 5-1 lead.
 
Gabe Matthews then scorched a ball that Fernlund could not handle, allowing Zavala to score from second. The Ducks added the final run of the inning, when Matthews scored on a Sam Novitske ground ball that the Utes turned a double play on.
 
Oregon tacked on another unearned run in the sixth. Grant reached on an error, and moved to third on Smith’s third hit of the game. Yovan drove in Grant with a sacrifice fly to center field for an 8-1 lead.
 
Kasevich scored the Ducks’ final run after doubling to lead off the seventh. He advanced to third on Anthony Hall’s ground out and scored on a Novitske fielder’s choice.
 
Box Score Notes: Both teams left seven runners on base, with Walker managing to strand three in scoring position in the first three innings … Smith (3-for-3, R, 2B) had his 18th multi-hit game of the season and the 32nd of his career … Kasevich (3-for-5, 2 R) finished with his 16th multi-hit game of 2021 and the 18th of his career … Grant (2-for-3, 2 R, BB) had his eighth multi-hit game of the year and the 11th of his career … Both Yovan and Zavala tallied their 20th career multi-RBI games, with Yovan putting up his team-best 13th of the season and Zavala recording his sixth …  Smith started his 91st consecutive game.
 
Series Notes: The sweep was the first of a conference opponent on the road since the last time Oregon visited Utah … The Ducks won all three games in 2019 in Salt Lake City … Oregon outscored Utah 32-8 in the series … The Ducks’ pitching staff combined for a 2.33 ERA with the starters picking up all three wins … Yovan batted .571 (8-for-14) with four RBI, six runs scored and two doubles in the three games … Kasevich hit .462 (6-for-13) with two RBI, four runs scored and a double … Smith batted .429 (6-for-14) with a home run, RBI, three runs scored and a double … Zavala finished the series batting .417 (5-for-12) with a home run, four RBI, four runs scored and two doubles … Hall hit .385 (5-for-13) with three RBI, three runs scored and five doubles … Matthews finished batting .308 (4-for-13) with four runs scored and a double … As a team, Oregon finished with a .364 average and 17 extra-base hits.
 
Record Watch: Smith doubled to lead off the game giving him 19 for the season, one shy of the Oregon school record held by Mitchell Tolman (2015) and Ryon Healy (2013) … Zavala scored his 48th run of the season, moving him into a tie with his teammate Novitske (2019) for fourth all-time … Yovan’s 13th multi-hit game tied him for fourth all-time with Tolman (2014) and Kyle Garlick (2014) … Matthews’ run scored gave him 126 for his career, one behind J.J. Altobelli (2010-13) for second on the all-time list … Smith’s 31st career double moved him into a tie with Scott Heineman (2012-15) and Danny Pulfer (2009-11) for eighth all-time at Oregon … Yovan’s 20th career multi-RBI game tied him for seventh all-time with Aaron Jones (2011-12) … Nico Tellache made his 80th career appearance, becoming just the third Duck to appear on the mound in 80 career games.
 
On Deck: Oregon plays four games against teams who will advance to the NCAA Regionals this week. The Ducks play Gonzaga on Tuesday at PK Park before hosting Stanford in a three-game series starting Friday.
 

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