Oregon offense explodes with 14-8 win over Washington State | Sports

After a fairly uneventful start to the series, Saturday’s game went anything but. Oregon and Washington State went back and forth for much of the game, but it was Oregon that prevailed, defeating the Cougars 14-8 in an offense-dominated contest at Bailey-Brayton Field.

Six Ducks had multiple hits. Drew Cowley reached base five times while Gavin Grant hit a grand slam and Tanner Smith had four hits and three RBIs. They combined for 17 hits and nine walks as a team.

It ended the Ducks’ four-game losing streak and rejuvenated life in a roster that’s been struggling to maintain energy in the last few games.

“We’ve pushed a big boulder uphill the last few games,” Smith said. “And today we really wanted to come out and slow everything down and really pump up every pitch and every game. I think we did a really good job with that.”

Washington State batted first with a four-point in the second inning. Leo Uelmen showed some liveliness with his fastball in the first inning, but in the second he was thrashed around for four hits, three of which were doubles. He eventually stopped the damage by recording his third strikeout, but not before the Ducks found themselves back in an early hole.

Oregon halved that deficit in the third inning. After stranding three runners in the previous two innings, they came through for a 4-2 with an RBI double from Sabin Ceballos and a sacrifice fly from Smith.

The Ducks achieved that against Caden Kaelber, who had dominated with a 2.16 ERA when he came into play on Saturday. Ceballos continues to thrive and act as a spark plug even as the offensive struggled as a unit. The doubles brought his average to .372.

The Cougars responded with three more hits late in the third and earned a run. With bases loaded, Uelmen settled and scored a strikeout with his fastball, then caused a groundout to end the inning with Oregon 5-2 behind.

The Ducks finally broke out with the offense they were looking for in the fourth inning. It started with a walk by Bennett Thompson. Carter Garate, making his second straight start at shortstop, singled and Grant perfectly placed a bunt to load the bases. That ended Kaelber’s day after more than three innings.

Rikuu Nishida greeted helper Spencer Jones by doing a classic Rikuu slap swing and blooping a single to ride in two runs. Shade put down another bunt and Jones threw the ball away for the tie. With an out, Smith walled one and smashed two more, giving Oregon a 7-5 lead.

Washington State fielded its third pitcher of the inning, Ryan Orr. He prompted an inning-ending double in Thompson’s second plate appearance of the frame and ended the rally after five heats.

But once again, Oregon failed to stem Washington State’s offense. The Cougars accumulated three direct hits against Uelmen, the last batting between three Oregon defenders to cut the lead to 7-6. Uelmen’s day ended after playing 3 1/3 innings and conceding 11 hits.

Austin Anderson stepped in and gave a walk to load the bases. A sacrificial fly made it to seven apiece as the roller coaster of this game continued.

Oregon took the lead in sixth place. Jacob Walsh drew a base-loaded walk – the third walk of the inning – and Thompson’s sacrifice fly made it 9-7.

Grayson Grissel rolled through the Cougars’ offense for 2 2/3 innings, batting a four. With two outs in the seventh, he gave up a double on the right field line for Washington State’s first hit against him. But Nishida, catching the start in right field, made an impressive relay to defeat the runner at home and finish the inning. He wore a big smile on his face as he ran into the dugout.

The Ducks blasted it with five five carries in the eighth. Garate drew Oregon’s second base-loaded walk of the day, and Grant sent one into the trees for a grand slam. After more than three hours into the game, it gave the Ducks a 14-7 pad to work with.

Ian Umlandt pitched the last inning. He gave up consecutive doubles with two outs but otherwise finished the game stress-free. It was the first run that Umlandt gave up this year.

Oregon (10-7, 2-3 Pac-12) will attempt Sunday’s rubber game at 1 p.m. against Washington State (14-4, 3-2 Pac-12).


Leave a Comment