BSB: Ducks sweep Utah over the weekend; run win streak to four

Tanner Smith led Oregon's offense with seven hits on the weekend while Novitske finished with five

After losing six of its previous nine games, Oregon finished out its recent trip to the state of Utah with a bang, sweeping the Utes over the weekend. With the wins, the Ducks now have a winning record (5-4) in Pac-12 play for the first time this season while being 16-10 overall.

Due to inclement weather, the Ducks were forced to play all three games in two days, including a double-header on Sunday.

GAME 1: OREGON 9 — Utah 4

The Ducks wasted no time in jumping all over Utah in the first inning, scoring three runs for the early advantage. The lead would eventually grow to 9-0 over seven innings before the Utes rallied with four runs for the final score.

Sam Novitske got the game started with a leadoff double, coming around to score when Jonny DeLuca doubled. The Ducks were able to load the bases later in the inning when Tanner Smith single with two outs, scoring DeLuca and Spencer Steer, who was hit by a pitch.

Cameron Campbell drew a walk to begin the second inning before coming around to score on a one-out double by Novitske, making the score 4-0.

Oregon added a run in the fourth when Smith hit a leadoff homerun over the right field fence.

The Ducks really opened up the game in the sixth inning. A two-out rally was completed when Steer hit a bases-loaded double, making the score 8-0. Oregon was able to load the bases using two walks and an error.

The final run for Oregon came when Aaron Zavala, who reached on a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch, score on Campbell’s single.

Robert Ahlstrom was sensational on the mound for the Ducks, throwing 7.1 innings and giving up just one run (unearned), with eight strikeouts. Peyton Fuller, who replaced Ahlstrom in the eighth, struggled out of the bullpen by giving up three runs (all unearned) on five hits with one strikeout in 1.1 innings thrown. Keaton Chase got the final out of the ninth to preserve the win.

Novitske and Smith each had two hits while Smith and Steer had three RBI’s each.

GAME 2: OREGON 9 — Utah 6

The first game of Sunday’s double-header was a back-and-forth affair that had the Ducks trailing for the first time in 21 innings. With the score tied at four entering the ninth inning,

Taylor Adams came through in the clutch for Oregon with a one-out grand slam, leading the Ducks to a 9-6 win.

Once again, the Ducks took the early lead with two runs in the third inning on Steer’s two-out double that scored Campbell and Max Foxcraft.

Utah responded with three runs over the next two innings off Oregon starter Cullen Kafka.

The score remained the same until the seventh when the Ducks rallied with two runs to take back the lead. Novitske continued his strong weekend with an RBI single that scored Campbell, before he came around to score on Gabe Matthews’ RBI single.

Utah rallied with a run off Ryne Nelson in the bottom of the seventh, who gave up a homerun in his first batter faced after relieving Kafka to tie the game, setting the stage for Smith’s heroics two innings later.

Smith and Campbell led the Ducks with three hits apiece, accounting for nearly half of Oregon’s 13 total hits.

GAME 3: OREGON 6 — Utah 3

Continuing their theme of the series, the Ducks jumped all over Utah, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings for the early 4-0 lead.

Novitske started things off with a leadoff single before scoring on Steer’s double to right center two batters later. A triple by Adams two batters later scored Steer for the 2-0 lead. Oregon had a chance to really open it up, but a strikeout ended the inning with the bases loaded.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases to start the second inning before Steer’s single scored Novitske and Foxcroft. A strikeout and a double-play ended the frame, but not before Oregon jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Brett Walker cruised through the first three innings for the Ducks, staying perfect before giving up a single in the fourth. He finished by throwing 5.0 innings and giving up three hits with no runs scored.

Cole Stringer threw a scoreless sixth for the Ducks before Chase took over in the seventh and ran into trouble. He loaded the bases but also got two outs before giving up a double to right field that scored three, cutting Oregon’s lead to one.

Oregon added two more runs in the ninth for some cushion before Nico Tellache, who threw a perfect ninth, picked up the save.

Novitske, Steer, Smith and Foxcroft all had two hits for Oregon.

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