Baseball recap: Santa Barbara hands Ducks their first defeat of the season
Can we call it a do-over and move this series back to Santa Barbara?
The Oregon Ducks baseball team might be wondering just that as the Gauchos came up to PK Park and handed the Ducks their first loss of the young season by the score of 6-2
This series was scheduled to be in Southern California, but that area is experiencing some torrential downpours and there would be no way the two teams could have got the four-game series in. So the Gauchos came up to Eugene for a three-game set.
It was a couple of long balls that hurt the Ducks. Santa Barbara cracked the scoreboard in the third inning on a two-run homer from Zander Darby. It stayed that way until the fifth as Drew Cowley singled home Rikuu Nishida to make it 2-1.
But the big blow came in the seventh as Ivan Brethowr crushed a grand slam down the left field line to make it 6-1 and it put the proverbial nail in Oregon’s coffin.
Final Score: Santa Barbara 6, Oregon 2
Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK
Keys to the game
Oregon missed two golden opportunities to take an early lead, one in the first and another one in the fourth. The Ducks had a runner on third with less than two out on both occasions and failed to drive them in.
UCSB’s Zander Darby put the Gauchos on the board with his second home run of the season.
Fundamentals continued to hurt Oregon. Colby Shade wandered off of second base after he thought the batter struck out, but he walked. Nishida laid down a perfect bunt but slowed himself up by sliding into first.
Oregon finally managed to get a clutch hit in the fifth on Cowley’s single to left to score Nishida from second.
UCSB’s starting pitcher Mike Gutierrez turned in a nice performance, going 5.1 innings, and giving up just one run on six hits while striking out six.
The Ducks could have tied the game or taken the lead in the sixth as they had runners on first and second with just one out. With Jacob Walsh coming up, the Gauchos brought in lefty reliever Cater Benbrook. It took just one pitch to coax Walsh to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. It was just one of those days.
Santa Barbara broke the game wide open on Ivan
It's on the stat sheet
Tanner Smith: 2-for-4
Josiah Cromwick: 1 RBI
Drew Cowley: 1 RBI
Zander Darby (UCSB): Home run, 2 RBIs
Ivan Brethowr (UCSB): 2-for-5, Grand Slam, 4 RBIs
Mike Gutierrez (UCSB): W (1-0), 5.1 IP, 1 R, 6 hits, 6 Ks
These two teams will end the three-game series on Saturday with a doubleheader. Game 1, a seven-inning game, will begin at 11 am with Game 2, a regular nine-inning affair, is scheduled shortly after.
Oregon will send Leo Uelman to the mound to face Matt Ager in the first game and in the nightcap, Matthew Grabmann will battle Reed Moring.