The Oregon baseball team is having an extra sunny Mother’s Day on a beautiful spring day in PK Park. The Ducks (25-24, 9-15 Pac-12) avoided a series sweep by beating the Beavers, 3-2, in game three.
Pitching and defense was the story of the day.
The Ducks had a remarkable day on the mound, especially considering UO has struggled to establish roles for their pitchers ever since losing their pitching ace, Kenyon Yovan, two innings into the season. The Ducks ranked last in the Pac-12 Conference with a 7.88 ERA.
Right-handed pitcher Ryne Nelson struck out a career-high 12 batters. Nelson came in for relief and threw the final 6.1 innings, holding the Beavers to eight hits and two runs with four walks.
The Ducks jumped out to an early lead offensively, Spencer Steer and Jonny DeLuca drove in two runs. UO added another run in the second inning with DeLuca’s second RBI of the day to extend the lead to 3-0.
Coming off a game with a season high 14 batters left on base in game two of the Civil War, stranded batters continued to kill the Beavers into game three, leaving a total of 12 runners on base.
Oregon held onto a 3-0 lead while Oregon State had a few chances to get on the board but were unable to capitalize until getting on the board in the sixth inning on a two-out single to right field by Jake Dukart.
Then OSU’ Alex McGarry ripped a home run, his seventh of the season, to lead off the eighth inning and close the Oregon State deficit to 3-2.
Oregon’s defense was stout and committed zero errors.
The Ducks held on to the lead. The win moves Oregon to an above .500 record and snapped a five game losing streak in conference play. With postseason eligibility on the line, the Ducks will need to play perfect in their final eight games. While it is improbable, today’s solid performance against the defending national champions showed that it’s not impossible.
Oregon plays Gonzaga on Tuesday at home before traveling to USC for a three-game series this weekend.