Bailey, Wooten Carry Ducks Past Rider 99-86 in NIT Opener


The scoreboard doesn’t show it, but Rider could have easily walked out of Matthew Knight Arena with a win.

Fortunately for Oregon, they’re the ones that got hot from behind the three-point line to come away with a 99-86 victory in the first round of the NIT Tuesday night. The Ducks (23-12) will now face the winner of the Marquette-Harvard matchup at a site and date to be determined.

But when the Broncs were up 51-39 early in the third quarter, Marquette or Harvard was the furthest on anyone’s mind. Rider dominated Oregon in nearly every statistical category in the first half and into the second half to build up that 12-point lead.

Then the Ducks started to play like the Ducks, being led by freshman Victor Bailey, Jr. He managed to hit 7-of-8 from behind the extended three-point line that is being experimented with by the NIT for a career high of 23 points in just 25 minutes.

The FIBA arc didn’t seem to bother any of the Ducks as they shot 14-of-26 from behind the line as a team. That was just one of several rules the tourney is trying out. The game was played in four 10-minute quarters and the lane was extended to be NBA-sized.

After falling behind 44-36 at halftime, the Ducks responded with a huge second half. Although they still trailed 65-61 at the end of three quarters, Oregon exploded for 38 points in the final 10 minutes of action to put the Broncs away.

Payton Pritchard also had 23 points to lead the Ducks and Elijah Brown chipped in 18 as well. Kenny Wooten patrolled the middle for most of the night with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The new three-point line didn’t affect the Ducks, but it did seem to bother Rider as the MAAC regular season champs were only 6-of-22 from long range.

Dimencio Vaughn led Rider with 25 points and Tyere Marshall adding 18 to the effort. Rider was looking for the program’s second post-season win ever and its first NIT win. The Broncs have never won an NCAA tourney game as well. Winning in Eugene would have been their best victory ever, but the Ducks’ size and athleticism eventually took over.

Oregon made 11-of-12 field goals in the fourth quarter that turned a four-point deficit into a 13-point win.

    ~ Don Smalley

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Elish, Balint Team Up To Cap Ducks’ Perfect Weekend


Miranda Elish picked up her tenth win of the season, blanking the Montana Grizzlies 7-0 in Sunday’s opening game of the Oregon Invitational Tournament at Jane Sanders field.

In keeping her record perfect, Elish allowed a single base hit and one walk while striking out 11 Grizzlies to pick up the complete game victory.

The Ducks opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the third inning thanks to Shannon Rhodes’ single up the middle.

Rhodes drove home two more in a five-run fifth to put the game away. Mia Camuson, Alexis Mack and Haley Cruse each contributed a pair of base hits.

The bats came out in force for the tournaments’ closing game against Bryant. After plating a run in the opening inning, the Ducks sent 14 batters to plate in a 13-run bottom of the second. A three-run blast by Cherish Burks started the parade and by the time the wreckage stopped Oregon had given starting pitcher Maggie Balint a 14-0 cushion to work with.

Oregon added a run in the third on April Utechts’ pinch-hit home run.

The Bulldogs pushed across an unearned run in the fourth, but that would be it. Oregon added two more in the the bottom half on Elish’s pinch-hit two-run home run. Balint struck out eight and walked none to improve her season record to 6-1.

With the two victories the Ducks conclude the tournament portion of their schedule until the NCAA’s in May and will open Pac-12 conference play hosting perennial powerhouse and rival UCLA beginning Friday at 5:00 pm. Game two on Saturday is set for a 7:00 pm start with the series concluding on Sunday at 2:00 pm. All three games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

~ Rick Morgan

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Aggies Spoil Weekend Sweep, Ducks Fall 9-7 in Series Finale


UC Davis spoiled a possible weekend sweep with a 9-7 win over the Oregon Ducks Sunday afternoon at PK Park.

The loss snapped a five game winning streak and dropped the Ducks the record to 11-4 on the year.

The Aggies, as they had done all series, opened the scoring with six runs in their first four at bats to take a 6-1 lead.

Oregon’s bats came alive in the home half with a four spot to cut the lead to one, then tied it in the fifth at six.

UC Davis took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the seventh then added an insurance run in the ninth.

Ray Soderman had the hot bat for the Ducks, going 3-for-5 at the plate with a RBI. Gabe Matthews drove in a pair of runs as did Jakob Goldfarb, each going 2-for-4 with Goldfarb launching his fourth home run of the season in the second inning.

Parker Kelly was a bright spot in relief, tossing three scoreless innings and striking out six. Peyton Fuller (0-1) win pinned with the loss.

Oregon will host Gonzaga Tuesday evening at 6;00 pm before beginning conference play Friday at Arizona State. California will open the home conference slate visiting PK for a three game set beginning Friday, March 23rd at 6:00pm.

~ Rick Morgan


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Kleist’s No Hitter Highlights Ducks’ Saturday Sweep


The 6th-ranked Oregon Ducks swept both ends of a two-game set Saturday evening at Jane Sanders Stadium, dropping Weber State 10-2 in a run-rule shortened opener, then blanking Montana 6-0 in the nightcap.

With the two victories Oregon’s season record improves to 21-4 on the year.

The bats came out early for the Ducks against Weber State. Mary Iakopo drove in a pair of runs with a double into the right-center field gap in the home half of the first inning and then Jenna Lilley and Shannon Rhodes each went yard in a seven run second.

Miranda Elish struck out 12 and allowed a pair of runs to pick up her ninth win of the season without a loss.

Neither Oregon nor Montana could get much going offensively in the early innings of game two. Again it was Iakopo who gave the Oregon offense a kick start in the fourth inning, tripling home Gwen Svekis and Rhodes. Mia Camuso followed with a single to put the Ducks in front 3-0.

That was plenty for Megan Kleist. The junior right-hander tossed her second straight no-hitter, fanning twelve Grizzlies on her way to her seventh win of the season.

The Oregon Invitational concludes with another double-dip on Sunday with the Ducks facing Montana again in the early game (12:00 pm) followed by Bryant in the finale at 2:30 pm.


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Ducks Take Two From UC Davis, Improve Season Record to 11-3


The Oregon Ducks improved their season record to 11-3 on the year taking both ends of a double header against UC Davis on Saturday afternoon at PK Park.

James Acuna picked up his second win of year with a two hit, seven inning outing in Oregon’s 4-1 win in the opener.

The Aggies opened the scoring with an unearned run in the top of the third inning.

Oregon took the lead in the bottom half with a pair of runs with Kyle Kasser’s single driving in the first and Jonny DeLuca’s sacrifice fly to left plating the second.

That would be enough for Acuna (2-0) who walked one and struck out one before yielding to closer Kenyon Yovan in the eighth. Yovan struck out four and didn’t allow a base hit in picking up his fourth save of the season.

Four Oregon pitchers combined to hold the Aggies to six hits while striking out 12 in the nightcap, leading the Ducks to a 7-2 victory. Kolby Somers gave up a pair of hits and fanned four to earn his first collegiate win.

Trailing 4-0 in the eighth, UC Davis touched reliever Nico Tellache for a pair of runs to cut Oregon’s lead in half before Ryne Nelson moved over from shortstop and shut the Aggies down the rest of the way without a hit and striking out four, earning his second save of the year.

Nelson and Jakob Goldfarb led the way offensively with a pair of base knocks each with Nelson and leftfielder Evan Williams each getting credited for a pair of RBI.

The four game series concludes on Sunday with first pitch set for 12:00 pm.

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Kelly Flawless In Relief; Secures 5-4 Oregon Win Over UC Davis


Parker Kelly picked up his fourth win of the season with three innings of flawless relief, striking out seven without allowing a hit or a walk in three innings of work in Oregon’s 5-4 win over UC Davis Friday evening at PK Park.

Matt Mercer opened the game on the hill but despite striking out nine Aggies with his 95 mph fastball, allowed 10 hits and four runs – two earned – in 5 2/3 innings of work.

The teams traded runs for the first three innings before Mercer finally escaped an inning unscathed in the top of the fourth.

Although Oregon was able to plate a run in the fourth on Kyle Kasser’s RBI single, the Aggies knotted the score at four in the top of the fifth. In the sixth Jesse Hobaica relieved to get the third out and handed the game off to Kelly.

The Duck offense got him the only run he would need in the seventh. Spencer Steer doubled with one out and scored when the UC Davis pitcher misplayed a Gabe Matthews ground ball.

Kelly struck out two of the first three batters he faced in the seventh, struck out the side in the eighth and after allowing a single with one out in the ninth, got the final two outs on swings and misses.

Kasser’s three base hits led the way for the Ducks with Jonny DeLuca, Jakob Goldfarb and Ryne Nelson each adding two.

Oregon’s season record improved to 9-3 with the win. With Thursday’s opener rained out, the teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday with game one beginning at 2:00 pm with game two set for 6:00 pm. First pitch for Sunday’s finale is set for noon.

~ Rick Morgan

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Williams, Gatti Net Four Goals Each; Ducks Bounce Bears In Pac-12 Opener


The Oregon Ducks jumped to quick four goal lead and then never trailed in upending California 12-7 at Pape` Field in the first official Pac-12 Conference lacrosse contest in program history.  With Arizona State fielding a team for the first time in 2018, Oregon, California, Stanford, Colorado and USC have left the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to join forces under the more familiar Pac-12.

And the first goal of that first game belongs to Shannon Williams who beat the California goalie clean from the right side on the Ducks’ first possession.

In rapid succession Natalie Modly, Jill Zubillaga and Mariah Gatti did the same as the Oregon attack found creases in the Bear defense, scoring four goals on four possessions in less than four minutes.

A pair of unassisted goals cut the Oregon lead in half but the Bears would get no closer.

Gatti and Williams each ended up with four goals. Oregon keeper Brittany Read stopped eleven of California’s 18 shots on goal to pick up her third win of the season.

The win gets the Ducks off on the right foot in conference (1-0) and improves their overall season record to 3-1. California fell to 4-3, (0-1).

In the new configuration, each team will play a home and home series in a 10-game conference schedule. Up next Oregon hosts Stanford on Sunday beginning at 3:00 pm. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
~ Rick Morgan

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Iokopo’s Slam Highlights Ducks 9-1 Win Over Weber State


Delayed a day by weather, the fireworks didn’t disappoint once they arrived in the Oregon Ducks’ 2018 home opening 9-1 run-rule win over Weber State Friday evening at Jane Sanders Stadium.

Weber State (10-14) scored the game’s first run in the second inning, an unearned run thanks to a throwing error. Starting pitcher Maggie Balint shut down the Wildcats from there, giving up three base hits and striking out six with one batter walked.

The Oregon offense came unleashed for Balint in the fourth, taking advantage of a Weber State throwing miscue to score their first run. Jenna Lilley’s single up the middle plated two more and served as a prelude to Mary Iokopo’s satellite launch over the left field screen for a grand slam and a 7-1 Duck lead.

Oregon (19-4) added two in the home half of the fifth to send a crowd of 1908 home early with the 9-1 final.

With a favorable weather forecast in hand, the Oregon Invitational continues through Sunday with the Ducks squaring off once again with Weber State beginning at 5:00 pm, followed by Montana beginning at 7:00 pm. Sunday’s doubleheader finale has Oregon in a rematch with Grizzlies at noon and Bryant at 2:30pm.

~ Rick Morgan

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Trojans End Ducks’ Pac-12 Tournament Run in Semis 74-54


In the first two games with USC, Oregon went down to the final minute before losing to the Trojans.

There would be no last second defeat as this game was relatively over at halftime.

USC advances to the Pac-12 tourney final after a 74-54 win over the Ducks Friday night in Las Vegas. It’s the third time the Trojans defeated the young Oregon team and will now face Arizona for the conference tournament championship.

As for the Ducks, they fall to 22-12 and will surely play in the NIT next week. The opponent and where the game will be should be announced Sunday night. Oregon hopes to make it a busy week for Matthew Knight Arena officials with a home game with the women’s team hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Oregon obviously didn’t have it on this night after playing an overtime game against Washington State and then a close affair with Utah in the quarterfinals. At one point, the Ducks missed 15 straight field goal attempts and USC built a 28-point lead at 53-25 with 15 minutes left.

Jonah Mathews led all scorers with 27 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including seven treys for the game. MiKyle McIntosh solidified his spot on the all-tourney team with his third straight big game. He led Oregon with 21 points. Elijah Brown added 16 with Troy Brown scoring 11.

The NIT pairings will be announced on Sunday with a selection special on ESPNU at 5:30 pm.

  ~ Don Smalley

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Late Rally Sends Ducks Past Utes 68-66; Face USC in Pac-12 Semi-Final

Oregon’s Payton Pritchard (#3) splits the Utah double team on December 29, 2017 at Matthew Knight Arena.

For the second night in a row a team challenged Kenny Wooten and for the second time, that team lost.

On this night it was Utah who had the audacity to get the ball in the lane in the last seconds against the Ducks’ leading shot blocker. Last night it was Washington State.

The result was exactly the same as Oregon advances to the Pac-12 semifinal with an upset victory over the No. 3 seeded Utes 68-66. The Ducks will now play USC, who managed to defeat Oregon State 61-48 earlier in the night.

Arizona and UCLA play in the other semifinal game.

Utah got the ball with 9.2 seconds left with the Ducks up two. Oregon wanted to deny Justin Bibbins the ball and force someone else beat them. The little point guard torched Oregon for 20 points.

It was Sedrick Barefield who had the ball and after he went around a couple of screens, he found a lane open to the hoop. But Wooten was there waiting and even though Barefield tired to go up and under for the potential game-tying basket, Wooten wasn’t having any of it. He pinned the ball against the backboard and eventually in the hand of Payton Pritchard as time expired.

Oregon even being within shouting distance of the Utes was a minor miracle as the Ducks struggled shooting the ball from the field and from the free throw line all night long.

Utah held a 54-43 lead with 9:57 left. But then Elijah Brown got cooking.

The senior transfer from New Mexico picked a good time to get hot from three-point range. He hit a trio of treys in the last seven minutes to bring Oregon to within 54-50 and then 60-57 with 5:08 remaining.

Then McIntosh managed to find his stroke from the charity stripe. He struggled in the game with WSU and for much of this night. But the 6-6 post was 5-for-5 in the final 2:30 of the game, including an and-one play with a minute left to give the Ducks the 68-66 lead.

Brown led the way with 21 points, all coming from behind the three-point line, shooting 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. McIntosh added 18 points Pritchard scored just nine. Wooten grabbed eight rebounds and that one huge block that was the game-winner.

Oregon and the Trojans will be the late game after the Wildcats and Bruins battle it out. USC swept the Ducks in the regular season, but both games were nail-biters. USC won 75-70 in Eugene and then 72-70 decision in Los Angeles Feb. 15.

Estimated tip time is at 8:30 pm televised by Fox Sports 1.

 ~ Don Smalley


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