EUGENE, Ore- It’s starting to become an aberration for the Ducks to pick up more hits than runs. After Saturday’s six runs on two hits, the Ducks replicated that disparity scoring six runs on just four hits Sunday, in a 6-1 win over Loyola Marymount.
“We’d like to run the ‘27 Yankees up there and hit balls over the fence,” said head coach George Horton said. “It isn’t about how many hits you get, it’s about how many times you touch that crooked base.”
All four hits were of the extra base variety, none bigger than newcomer Tyler Baumgartner’s bases-clearing double in the sixth inning, after the Ducks had trailed 1-0.
“I had taken him [Loyola Marymount pitcher Aaron Griffin] to a good count in my first two at-bats, 3-2 counts, and so I got familiar with the pitcher and what his tendencies were,” Baumgartner said. “It was a fastball away. He’d been throwing mostly fastballs and changeups to lefties.”
Baumgartner was making his second career-start for the Ducks, after transferring from Bellevue CC this fall. The hit was his first at Oregon (6-1).
“It felt great. It was my first collegiate hit,” he said. “It was good timing. Cole Irvin put out…for a good eight innings today. It was good to get him some run support.
Like his first collegiate start in Hawaii, Irvin gave up an early run before shutting down the opposition. The Lions Joey Boney scored in the fourth inning on a Tanner Donnels single to center field.
“Cole Irvin, the spectacular freshman, had a great outing,” said head coach George Horton. “The one that they got was a good one. We call that a good one, because it was the middle of the order and they hit some good pitches. He didn’t flinch and just kept throwing strikes. He pitches beyond his year’s maturity wise.”
In the next four innings, only three Lions reached base. Irvin finished with one earned run over eight innings of work. Despite keeping the Lions at bay for much of the game, Irvin took a 1-0 deficit into the sixth inning.
“I trust my team. They have my back, I have theirs, the main thing was just to throw strikes,” he said.
Irvin’s eight innings were the most by a Duck pitcher this season. Even then, Irvin said he felt ready to come out for the ninth if asked to.
“I’ve always been a starter. So, it didn’t really faze me how long I go. It’s just a grind, every inning, whether it’s the first or the eighth…,” he said.
Through those first five innings, LMU’s Griffin was nearly perfect, giving up just two hits and a walk. In that sixth inning, the Ducks were the beneficiary of a throwing error, two walks and then a pair of timely doubles, the first of which was Baumgartner’s bases-clearer. The second double was Nick Catalano’s first hit on his first collegiate at-bat.
Griffin exited after the second out of the sixth inning, and the Lions went with Sean Buckle. Buckle walked Payne and was replaced by Carlos Fuentes who walked his first batter, Scott Heineman before two mistakes rendered the last two Ducks’ runs.
First, Payne, now on second, was caught on a pick-off move to third, but the throw was wild and the second-baseman rounded third to score. Heineman took third on the throwing error, and scored when Fuentes balked.
Oregon takes on the Portland Pilots Tueday for a one-game mid-week series. First pitch is 6 p.m. Horton said following the game that Christian Jones will likely get the start.