EUGENE- Oregon (23-24 overall, 8-15) held it’s own against Oregon State in game two of the Civil War series before ultimately losing 8-5 to the Beavers in front of 4,130 at PK Park.
"They are pouring their hearts and souls into it and obviously they want to win very bad,” Oregon coach George Horton said. “Some guys are performing well and some guys are disappearing, quite frankly.”
The Beavers (33-14-1, 19-4 Pac-12) got off to an early 3-0 start in a first inning that featured four walks, three hits and 38 pitches. OSU never lost the lead and took sole possession of first place in the conference with the victory.
Oregon right fielder Tanner Smith answered with a homerun bomb hit over the right-center to make it 3-1. Smith led Oregon on offense, recording three hits and one RBI.
Besides Oregon’s first three batters (Sam Novitske, Smith, Spencer Steer), the Ducks struggled mightily at the plate against OSU right-handed pitcher Dylan Pearce. Novitske, Smith and Steer were the only Ducks to record hits off Pearce through five innings.
Pearce held the Ducks to seven hits and four runs with five strikeouts and three walks through five innings.
“We have to have more guys participate up and down the order,” said Horton.
Third baseman Steer was again a bright spot for the Ducks. Steer improved to 6-7 on the weekend with four RBIs. His team leading 44th RBI of the season cut the Ducks deficit to three in the third inning. Then, he scored two more in the fifth inning to make it 7-4 and tie the UO career RBI record(118).
Oregon starting pitcher Cullen Kafka allowed eight hits, five runs with three strikeouts and five walks through two and one-third innings. Cole Stringer came out of the pen in the third inning with the bases loaded and retired two Beavers to get out of the inning.
On the mound, Stringer allowed two unearned runs in the fifth inning and finished the day allowing three hits, two runs, with two strikeouts and three walks in three innings. Peyton Fuller and Nico Tellache closed out the game for Oregon.
The Ducks threatened in the sixth inning, getting two on base with zero outs. The Beavers replaced Pearce with Jake Pfennigs and escaped the inning with only giving up one run.
Oregon couldn’t perform in the clutch; the Ducks hit .000 (0-8) with two outs and left six runners on base. Oregon State left a season high 14 runners on base but with two outs the Beavers scored two runs and batted .231 (3-13) when they needed it most.
With postseason eligibility on the line, the Ducks will need to play perfect in their final nine games. While it is improbable, today’s solid performance against the defending national champions showed that it’s not impossible.
Oregon looks to stop the OSU series sweep on Sunday at noon at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon.